Fearless Files: The Practice of Letting Go

Saturday, May 9, 2015

"Grief is like the ocean; it comes on, waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim." ~ Vicki Harrison

Letting go is not easy. For me, I tend to hold onto things, people and feelings.

When my dad died four years ago, it was the first time I lost someone dear to me. And I didn't know how to handle it. I am just now feeling like I am grieving. I spent the first year in a fog and then held a lot of things in. Looking back now, I know that I didn't allow myself to grieve because that would mean I was accepting that my dad was gone. I held onto the idea of him and wouldn't let go. 

Then my younger brother Danny died last year. He died a month after the third anniversary of my dad's death and this really rocked me to the core. My brother was younger (he was 40 when he died) and he was my only sibling. He was my mother's only son. He was a father to three beautiful daughters. He was a husband. He was so many wonderful things. When I lost him, I left like I lost a limb. I have lost a part of me that I will never get back.

I have to tell you... I'm tired. So tired. Sometimes I feel so tired that the exhaustion weighs me down. Some mornings I don't want to get out of bed. I just want to stay under my covers, close my eyes and tune out the world. So then I don't have to face that they're gone. But then I think of them and the realization settles in. They're gone.

Looking back five years ago, I would have never thought I would be in this place. My dad was supposed to live until his 90's. He was supposed to walk me down the aisle and play with his grandchildren. My brother was supposed to live to see his daughters graduate and get married. He was supposed to be a grandfather. But that is not the case. And I was not prepared for this.

We all know we are going to die one day but you never REALLY think about it. Well, I never did. I was spending my time taking life for granted. But now I see that one minute you're here and the next minute, you can be gone. And you don't know when. You can't do anything about it, either. That is some terrifying shit, let me tell you.

Sometimes my anxiety overcomes me and I'll be honest, I start to freak out. I have to remind myself to breathe and relax. I tell this to my mom when she has her anxious moments. REEELLLLAAAAXXX. She gives me a dirty look (lol) but she admits later that it helps.

I think the positive in this situation is that my mom and I have each other. Our relationship is so strong and solid right now. I love her so much that I can't even think about when she will die. I often wonder who will go first between the two of us. I don't want to think about it but with my dad and brother gone, it's something we have to not only think about but talk about. We have to make preparations so we are not taken by surprise. The key is not letting it consume us to the point where we don't enjoy the moments we do have, right now. 

My wish is for her to live another 20-30 years and hopefully, I will live another 40. But for now, I am trying to figure out how to let go of this anger I feel and try to live in a better space without having this pain dictate my steps. 

This last year has been so hard and I think that's because not only am I finally grieving for my dad but now I am also grieving for my brother. I suffered a bad bout of depression after New Year's and thought I would never make it out. All I wanted to do was sleep. But my strength, my faith and my inner fighter brought me out of it. I go to therapy every week and I am just now feeling comfortable enough to go to a bereavement group. 

One baby step at a time. 

But I will say that what's different now is that I am hopeful. I know things are going to be okay. I just remind myself to be kind to myself. And strive to be strong, secure and happy for all the days of my life.

I have survived losing half of my immediate family in a span of three years. Yeah, I'm definitely a survivor. And that makes me smile. Because I know my dad and Danny are smiling along with me.

Oh, but how I miss them. I miss them more than words can say.

1 comment

  1. I read your Blog with tears rolling down my cheeks. My Papi died in front of me and my siblings when I was in my teens, it will be thirty years this June. Still til this day I think of Papi when I see other Dads and I say to myself "that is what my Papi would have looked like". I must say that you bring confidence to my life in all aspects of the way. When I see your post/pictures they always seem to bring a smile to my face. I have never met you but would like to someday meet my beautiful, fearless COUSIN. Stay strong and beautiful. LOVE YOU