I know this is going to sound strange to some people, but experiencing grief has been the worst and best thing that has ever happened to me. When one of my best friends died unexpectedly, life as I knew it died with him. I was shattered into a million pieces and for awhile I didn’t know how to deal. He was one of the most supportive friends I’d ever had at the time and he always made sure I didn’t give up on myself. Even if it meant starting a petty war! 😆 So when he was literally here one day and gone the next, it hit me pretty hard. I was lost, confused, angry, shocked, depressed, heart broken and extremely emotional. I thought I was a thug back then, so doing all this “feeling” was unfamiliar territory for me so I knew I needed to find a solution.
One morning a couple weeks after his funeral, I was on my way to work, sitting in traffic on I-40W, laughing, crying [like a maniac] and listening to music, when my solution found me. The message was simple but felt so right: “Allow yourself time to really grieve.” My friend’s death was only one of a few things I was dealing with at the time, but after decades of sweeping my feelings under the rug and pretending nothing affected me, I decided to go with it. I was completely out of storage anyway and I couldn’t hold on to any of the pain anymore, so I decided to deal with it. That was the best decision I ever made. Grieving properly put me back in control and my new mission was to actually BE okay, instead of just pretending to be okay.
“Allow yourself time to really grieve.” – The Universe
First I stopped running from pain and learned how to lean into it. Now I’m not of afraid of pain anymore because what could hurt more than losing a friend? I’m not afraid to do the shit that scares me either. I embrace all of those feelings and force myself to do what I’m afraid of. That’s when I realized fear is false and nothing is really as bad as you imagine it will be. Not to mention, facing your fears makes you feel like a fucking super hero! Now I literally just feel my way through life. If it excites me, but scares the shit out of me, I do it! Sounds nuts, I know. But life is too short to not find out what’s on the other side of your fears so #FuckFear!
If you’ve ever lost someone you were close to, you know that in addition to figuring out what to do with the moments you used to spend with them, there are two days that will never be the same again. These are the days that you can feel coming, before they arrive. The days that are a measure of the progress you’ve made since you experienced that loss. The days that also say FUCK your progress, and knock you right back into your feelings. Those days come twice a year. The day you lost your loved one, and their birthday. For me, August 7 and Feb 18 will never be the same.
August 7, 2016 would have been one of my best friends’ 38th birthday. Curtis “Scooby” Senior was one of the greatest people I ever met. If you ever met him, I’m sure he was probably one of the greatest people you ever met too. I can say that with confidence because he was an all around great guy. He was a jerk too, but everybody loved him. I witnessed him go out of his way to help people on a regular basis. He was very inspiring! Which is why it still doesn’t seem right that he’s gone. Over time I’ve learned to accept that it will never feel right or be fair and there is nothing I can do about that. Four years later as I reflect over the progress I’ve made on my journey I remember what it was like in the beginning. I remember subconsciously reaching for my phone to text him when something good would happen or waking up each day to the reality that I’d never talk to my friend again. 😥 Those days were the worst days…. now I sip champagne when I’m thirstay!
This year on his 38th birthday I celebrated his life and legacy as well as my progress. Remembering where I started and seeing where I am now I can’t help but be proud of myself. I know he would be proud too. It feels like the sad part of my grieving has come to an end. I’d like to think I’ve made it to the other side of grief and it feels so fucking good over here. I created this life for myself. I’m a real life alchemist. I can’t help but thank my friend for being a catalyst for my transformation. I’m so grateful for every laugh, and all the great memories. Most of all I’m grateful to have had such an amazing, inspirational friend and teacher.
Wherever you are on your grief journey, I encourage you to embrace it. It will undoubtedly be treacherous. But the journey can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. You owe it to yourself and I’m sure your loved one wants to see you thriving. I guarantee they’re somewhere rooting for you. You can do it!