the season of autumn is my favorite time of year- the change in the weather, the crisp cool air, the leaves changing into beautiful colors of reds, oranges and yellows and the delicious soups along with baked pumpkin bread. i don’t want to say that it used to be my favorite time of year because it still is, but while I celebrate this season of autumn it’s also a time of lament. i know that lament is with me all the time but during certain times of the year the grief is really hard, almost unbearable as i relive the moments in my life that i lost my best friend. i can clearly remember the person i once was leading up to the moments that everything changed and I became a different person.
for me, this is the time of year that i relive in my mind the memories of visiting my best friend for the last time in October and saying good bye to her in November. before she died, when i would think of her in the season of autumn, i would reminisce about our times together in college, football games and riding home together to San Antonio for the weekend to visit our families.
i admit, i haven’t had much time to lament. yes, i did have my year of mournful crying, sorrow, anger and depression. but at the end of that year, i had to pick myself and carry on for the sake of my family. i realized that with two young toddlers in the house i did not have a lot of time to truly process grief. this was my first huge loss and i am still learning to grieve. i wish i could get this grief over with and move on but it doesn’t work that way. grief never goes away, just like you will never be able discard your lifetime membership to this club of mourners. it’s a club you never wanted to be a part of or signed up for but yet you are surrounded by thousands of people who feel exactly the way you feel. you have this commonality and bond. i think of it as a secret club because unless it has happened to you, you can’t possibly understand what a person of grief looks like, feels like or acts like. this is how i feel every time i meet someone or engage with someone who has had such a significant loss, it’s like my broken heart reaches out to their broken heart and says i know your pain, i feel your pain. i know they are going through sleepless nights, mournful crying, screaming fits, anger and grief bursts. i know that they are going on this roller coaster ride of grief that never seems to end. for better or worse, it’s a bond that i now share with these people. for those that have never lost a loved one from the outside looking in, you can’t understand it (the journey of grief) and from the inside (those who have lost someone) looking out, you can’t explain it. for those that are on the outside, i want you to know that it’s ok to ask us how we are really doing. don’t feel like you are going to upset us if you bring up the memory of our loved one as if we weren’t already thinking about them. but please don’t say things like ‘God must of needed an angel’ because this is just plain stupid. God doesn’t need to take people’s lives to get an angel. The bottom line is that tragedy happens and sometimes life just sucks.
half the time my mind can comprehend that she is really gone and the other half of the time my mind thinks that she has moved someone far away like Antarctica where there is no communication available. i always think about this quote when i can’t wrap my mind around the fact that she is really gone. “it has been said, ‘time heals all wounds’. i do not agree. the wounds remain. in time, the mind protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. but it is never gone” rose kennedy.
grief has changed me for the better and it has changed me for the worse. the worst in me is now the person that is always waiting for the next shoe to drop, waiting for the next phone call or text of bad news. it has changed me for the better because now i truly know what it means to live each day, each moment, celebration, birthday, holiday to the absolute fullest. life is so incredibly fragile and we get one life here on Earth. and in this time i choose to celebrate life, love, family, friends and goodness even in the deepest valleys of the grief that i still deal with every day. i don’t sweat the small stuff like i use to because at the end of the day what matters most to me is my faith, family, friends and our health. everything else is secondary.
i miss my sweet friend every day, she was my best friend, my soul mate, my sister. she had a radiant spirit that would just shine everywhere she went. i know that her radiant spirit is still shining all over heaven right now. we could spend hours together doing absolutely nothing and have the best time. the last time i got to spend time with her i told her jokingly to have a margarita waiting for me up in heaven. and then a month later she was gone. so every year on her anniversary, i make the perfect margarita just the way she taught me and i raise my glass towards the heavens and say ‘salud’ because i know she is up there raising a glass back down towards me.