When Someone You Love Dies.

On coping with loss.

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Today I got a call from my cousin. Her brother (also my cousin) died in his sleep. He was young in his late twenties. He has a son who is under two years old.

When I read the text I immediately burst into tears.

I wasn’t particularly close with him but we grew up together.

We cousins only had each other as kids.

If our families were too much we knew we could turn to each other for support.

If life got overwhelming we would give each other encouragement.

We cheered each other on in our victories. We laughed together. Busted each other’s chops. Danced to bachata and made delicious food together.

But the universe had a different plan.

The last time I saw this cousin was two years ago at Thanksgiving.

He was suffering so much mentally. An ex-marine trying to reintegrate back into society.

We all knew something had changed when he got out and came back. We just didn’t know what.

Fast forward two years later.

He had a kid. Started getting mental help. Got a job. Got a car.

It looked like things were turning around for him.

But the universe had a different plan.

Death came for him this morning. And he took his last breath.

Unexpectedly. Abruptly. His light went out.

When someone we love dies the grieving process is a mixed bag of what the f-cks.

We replay conversations.

We post on Facebook.

We call up our loved ones and cry together.

We isolate. Numb.

We get sick physically.

We get hopeless.

We celebrate their life. We mourn them.

We watch videos of them over and over again.

And we do this cycle as many times as we can to get through the day.

Loss is like a wave.

You ride it. There are peaks and dips. Some opportunity to breathe.

Some moments you forget the pain. And some moments you are knee deep in the water of sorrow.

When someone we love dies we don’t know what we need.

We are just existing in a body that’s breathing. But our mind is checked out.

Coping is different for everyone.

It is okay to be angry.

It is okay to feel nothing.

It is okay to feel relief.

It is okay to feel at peace.

It is okay to feel everything.

Blame them. Blame the world.

Blame time.

“If only I had done this..”

“What if I had made it in time?”

“I wish I had one more chance”

“I wish I could have said goodbye.”

Yes, there is so much we will wish we could have said and done.

But for now all we can do is be.

Be completely utterly messy.

Live with their principles in your mind and heart.

Live to tell their stories to the world so that they may continue to live on.

Live your best life with your loved ones.

It is truly precious.

Written by

Self-help & mental health writer. Can't do small talk. Mama. Yogi. Coffee lover. Nature explorer. Get my free meditation mini-course here: www.emilystroia.com

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