Many people get undeniably blessed in life by not experiencing the death of a loved one until they are well into adulthood. I am not one of those people. I have lost more people in my life to death than I care to count. From the sudden death to the long awaited one, each one carried its own unique pain and its own lesson with it.
Lesson One: The pain will never go away. I know sometimes people try to tell you that over time the pain fades, but I’m here to tell you it never does. I can still remember every single detail and the cracking of my heart when I found out about each one of my loved one’s deaths. I can relive it over, and over again just as if it happened only moments ago. You will never ever forget that kind of heartbreak, it changes every cell in your body and you can never go back to who you were before it happened. Even though the pain doesn’t ever go away what I can tell you is that you can decide how you respond to it
Lesson Two: Happiness really is a choice. Each loss I experienced I could have chosen to let that pain and that suffering consume me, to let it engulf every part of me and turn my view of this life upside down. But happiness is a choice, you can choose to live in the pain of loss or you can choose happiness. I beg you to choose happiness, do not feel guilty for laughing or loving after a loss, it does not mean you no longer love or grieve for them. It just means you see that life, your precious life, must be lived to the fullest.
Lesson Three: Don’t live your life for other people. As a young girl, I used to do everything in my power to make others happy, even if it meant not being happy myself. When I lost two of my loved ones in college I realized that I was wasting my life trying to live for other people. You never know how long you have here in this crazy world, so why waste any of it living for others. It is your life and it is your time here, and you should seize every moment of it.
Lesson Four: Be kind. Life is too short to be anything other than kind to everyone around you. This world is already filled with so much hate and anger that if you have the opportunity to be anything but that, please do. You never know how one small act of kindness you present to another can change their entire day. When I lost my mother at a young age the amount of kindness that poured onto me from strangers was incredible, it didn’t take my pain away but it helped me see that this was not the end of my life as I knew it, it was only the beginning.
There are so many more lessons that can be learned from losing someone you love, but for me, these were the main lessons that changed my life. I am not the person I was before losing so many of the ones I loved, but I am a stronger and more resilient person because of it. If you are someone that has just lost a loved one, know I understand and know that I can say with all the confidence in my heart that you will be okay, maybe not right now but I promise you will.