Some days I feel broke inside… Hurt. Cover by Myesha Reed, age 15

Losing someone we love is hard. Accepting loss is extremely challenging. Many people learn new lessons about the meaning of life, as well as the meaning of love. These are often difficult lessons, lessons one wishes one did not have to learn in this way. Death is probably the most challenging thing a human can face. It breaks us down. It brings us to our knees. When you lose someone you love the mere thought of living without them feels incredibly overwhelming and incapacitating. You look in the mirror and barely recognize yourself and it’s hard to imagine being a normal person ever again.

Most will have grown stronger as a result of the loss they have experienced. They grow more mature, have more understanding of others and more aware of themselves. Many people learn new lessons about the meaning of life, as well as the meaning of love. You learn that you can do things for other’s and realize that you can still make a difference in others’ lives, even if you’re desperately missing a loved one.

Even though you are sad about the death, you find it hard to access the emotions. I want you to imagine that one day you get on a roller coaster and as it climbs, falls, twists and turns you realize that you feel nothing.  You are sitting in a tiny cart being whipped around like a wet noodle, wondering why everyone else is laughing, screaming, and throwing their hands in the air. There you are left feeling nothing.

Feeling nothing is not akin to feeling ‘okay,’ underwhelmed, or unenthused.  Feeling nothing is more like feeling empty, dead inside or simply emotionless. When you feel nothing, the world seems to make less sense. You stop trying so hard to understand why the person you loved so much was taken away.  You’ve come to accept it, but it doesn’t seem to make you feel any better.  Friends and family show up in support and say things like, “I can only imagine everything you must be feeling right now” and you begin to feel guilty because you’re not crying with them or in front of them. You’ve built up this wall and have learned to control those feelings and bury them deep inside, only letting them out in privacy now.

There is no prescribed way to grieve. Many cry and some do not. Many feel very sad and want to talk about it. Others want to deal with it more on their own. Some people feel worse early on, while others find that their most difficult times come months or sometimes even years afterwards. You have to accept the emotions of grief for just what they are… just feelings. Queen Elizabeth II once said, “Grief is the price we pay for love.”

The journey through grief is long but there is no race and no competition. It’s a journey within you. There will be days when you will feel stronger than ever and some days will bring you back to your knees.

Just remember: The rollercoaster is the journey.

Progress is being made every day you choose to take another breath.

You are alive. You are strong. You will survive.

Mommy loves you Myesha!