Wifeys & Gentlemen,
Happy Friday. It has been a pretty awful day on top of a very long week, but I am so happy to be able to share the final installment of my best friend’s guest blog. I believe it is only fitting that this conclusion gets posted today, on the eve of Steven’s memorial celebration.
If you missed part II, find it here.
I am so proud of my friend and admire her strength in all that has happened over these weeks.
Thank you all for taking the time to read it and support her story.
Taking it one day at a time
The best advice that I can give anyone is to take it a day at a time. One moment you might feel ok and have the energy for an outdoor walk around the lake. The next moment you may feel like you want to go home and cry yourself to sleep. It’s ok. It’s normal. Listen to your body and trust your intuition; give yourself grace throughout this process. I am only in the beginning of this journey and I haven’t even scratched the surface of what this looks like for me in the long run. Right now, this wound is still very much open and still very painful. I’m taking it one day at a time and trying to love myself through the process.
Creating a space in your home to remember your loved one
I have created a space in my living room where I have photos of Steven, his ashes, candles, and things he liked (ie: hot sauce, his skateboard, and his favorite hat). I keep it on display so I can see it everyday; needing to keep him alive in any way I can. It helps me. His presence was so large in my life that keeping his things around has helped me adjust. As I try to get used to this new normal, I feel like this is how he can still show up when I miss him.
Honestly, I cry when I look at it. I cry all the time. Still, I am determined to never erase his memory or his presence in my life.
Making a playlist of songs that you shared with your loved one
Steven LOVED music and he turned me on to so many different genres and artists. If music wasn’t your thing, that’s cool, but I imagine everyone has at least 1 or 2 songs that remind you of your loved one. Put them on a playlist and listen to them when you feel comfortable doing so. As you can imagine, I cry when I listen to them and prefer to be alone when I do this, but it helps me feel connected to him. I release any and all emotions that I am feeling. Music can be very healing, especially in time of grief.
Grieve. Grieve in whatever way makes sense for you (as long as it is safe). It is so important to feel everything that comes. The feelings that come won’t last forever, but they also won’t go away forever either. Working on understanding and accepting how to move forward with the grief you just experienced is a daily exercise.
Grieving with children
I have a 9 year old son who was also very close to Steven. Death is hard in general, but it’s especially hard for children. However you are grieving, try to remember that your children are watching. This is especially true if they are at an age where they can comprehend the significance of your shared loss. It was important for me to show my son that it’s ok to cry. It’s ok to feel all of the feelings that come with grief.
I have made it a point to talk about Steven regularly. I talk about how he died (in a way that is age appropriate) and that while his body is no longer here with us, his spirt and soul show up in different ways now. I used the analogy of a log on a flame, what once was a log has now transformed into flames, smoke, and ashes. It may no longer be the log it once was, but it has transformed into something different. We are finding different ways that Steven shows up in our lives; through songs, through things that remind us of him (ie: his knack for leaving loose change EVERYWHERE around the house). Whenever we see a coin randomly laying around, we like to think it’s Steven, saying hi. This has been incredibly helpful for both of us. I am of the mindset that our children need to know how to handle their emotions, showing my son how to grieve in a healthy way has been incredibly important to me.
Remembering the little things
Here are just a few things I have thought a lot about in the weeks following Stevens death:
- Always take photos and/or videos. Seriously. Even if you think it is stupid or doesn’t mean anything at the moment, just do it. Capture the small and simple moments that happen in between the big ones. Celebrate all of it. Once that person is gone it will be all you have, and it still won’t be enough. Looking back at all my pictures and videos of Steven, it’s not enough…I wish I had more.
- This is going to sound cliche, but always say I love you. In the words of Kevin Hart, “say it with your chest”. On Steven’s last day, I showered him with so much love. I must have told him how much I loved him 1000 times (which he would probably say wasn’t enough). 🙂 I am so happy that he knew how deeply I cared for him. I find some peace in that.
- Try to resolve your issues. I know this is easier said than done. Yes, we get upset at our loved ones sometimes. Sometimes we get mad over dumb shit, like leaving the kitchen cabinets open or leaving garbage next to but not inside of the trash can (I am looking at you, Steven). Sometimes it’s over big shit, like hiding your drinking from me, but I have learned that how we respond to these things with our loved ones is crucial. From my personal experience and the issues Steven and I faced, it wasn’t easy by any means. We were “broken up” when he left for his cousin’s wedding. However, before he left, we were with each other everyday. He stayed at my house and we spent quality time together, making deeper connections than we’d shared before. I made sure that even though we weren’t in the best place at the time, I stayed in love with him. I still cared about him. I still supported him. I wanted him to know that when he got home, I would be there to pick him up. I understand there are so many complex issues that just can’t be “resolved”, but I still believe you should try. Try with an open heart and real understanding. If it can’t be resolved, at least you can say you tried.
These are things that I know I previously overlooked. I wish that I had done more of this when he was alive. I wish I understood the weight it carried.
Everything being said, know that none of this is going to fix you or take the pain away. I don’t think that’s the point. The pain is there and will always be there. I haven’t gotten to a place where I am free of emotional pain yet. I’m just not there, and that’s ok. Everything I mentioned before are simply ways to try and move through it; methods to “deal” or handle it all as it comes. Remember that is only my experience. I’m very new at this and I know I haven’t moved through all of the “classic” stages of grief. When I do, maybe I’ll write about it and ask Mrs.Renai to share?
All I can say is that grief is complex and different for everyone. You don’t really understand grief until it hits you. When it does, it’s like being touched by something chronic. No, it’s not fatal but sometimes it feels like it could be. If we can’t prevent it, what can we do? My only hope in writing this is that it helps you better understand what grief is and what it looks like. It’s okay to be sad. We will smile and feel happiness again, but that doesn’t mean we have completely moved on.
I hope you know that you aren’t alone in your grief. What you are feeling is totally NORMAL and, most importantly, please try to LOVE YOURSELF THROUGH IT. It’s ok for the emotions to change on a dime, take everything as it comes and make a conscious decision on what works for you in that moment. If there’s anything I want you to take away from this, is that we do not “move on” from grief, we move forward with it. Steven’s life, love, and death will forever be a part of me and a part of my story.
I love you Steven, you will forever be missed.
A special thank you to Sarah for writing this blog. Love you <3.
Until next time,
Carry on wifeys & gents!
Original blog written by Sarah ❤
In loving memory of Steven.