Last December one of my nearest and dearest friends was killed in a car accident. She was only 18. That day I was introduced to something I had only looked at from afar, something that I had heard about, but never in my wildest dreams imagined would ever happen to me. That day I thought that my life would never be the same again and that I could never be happy. That day I was sure that a part of me had died with her. And while I sit here today, still missing her every single day, and still faced with the heartbreaking fact that I will never be able to see or speak to my friend again, I have learned some things. So, having walked this painful road, I wanted to offer advice to the person who is just now going through this terrible, terrible thing–the death of a loved one.
The first thing I want to tell you is that you will feel happy again. You won’t believe this now, but it’s true. And you know what? It’s a good thing to feel. It’s a great thing to feel. And while this may sound like the same advice that everyone gives, your friend would want that. The first time I felt the first glimmer of joy after it happened I felt a pang of guilt. Like I wasn’t allowed to be happy because it was disrespectful to my friend and the only way to honor her would be to be heartbroken at all times. Then I realized something one night when I was sitting back and remembering all the wonderful times we had had together. My friend was one of the funniest, happiest, people on the face of the earth. She had the greatest laugh and could always turn a cloudy day into sunshine and roses. If she was so great and took so much joy out of life and people then why would she want me to live in sadness? Not my friend. I realized that the best way for me to remember her, the best way to honor her life and to never, ever, forget, would be to allow myself to feel the very thing she loved. So, my dear hurting person, when that day of sunshine comes calling, don’t run away from it.
Now, it’s time for me to offer you some advice, just some things that helped me get through those terrible dark, tear-filled days.
Take an entire day, allow yourself to cry, to be angry, to yell, to sit alone, to say nothing at all. Do it all. Do some of it. Do whatever you need. Don’t hold back and don’t feel like you have to be brave for anyone. Then take a long bath, fill it with oils, bubbles, salts, anything you want and relax. The next day its time to push through and start life again. This was the advice my mom gave me and honestly, it’s probably the best advice I was given. While it might sound like I’m being cold and uncaring, this is what saved me from days and days of sitting alone and in tears.
I remember after it happened one of the things that kept replaying in my head was the song “You Raise Me Up’ by Daniel O’Donnell. It helped me to see that God knew what He was doing, He knew that it was her time, He wasn’t being cruel to me or trying to hurt me by taking her away. He was still a good and loving God, who just knew that it was time for her to go Home. So, please, go and find as much music as you like, something that speaks to you and wraps you in a blanket of comfort. It helps.
Talk about it. You might have heard this before, but the more I sat down and talked about our silly hobbit chats, inside jokes, wonderful conversations, how we became friends and all the memories, the better I felt. It really just eased the pain just a little.
You will have times when you just miss them so much you can’t stand it. At those times it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to go through the motions again, to be angry. All of this is normal. I still go through those times and the best thing for it is to let it come and go. You will feel better.
Focus on the fact that this is not a forever goodbye. That one day, when you too go home, you will see your loved one again. There will be no more sadness, no sorrow, only joy. Reminding myself of this constantly helped me through it. I will see her again. It just might be a few years.
And finally, pray. Thank the Lord for the time that you had with your family member or friend. Thank Him for letting you be blessed by their life. And also, ask for His help, His comfort, in your grieving. The Lord understands what it means to grieve. The shortest verse in Scripture is “Jesus wept” and that was in relation to His friend dying.
I hope this helps at least a little.
Until next time.
Before the Cross,