First Loss

For the past 12 years on September 26th, I’ve made a single phone call early in the morning. I call a dear woman who has been nicknamed my “adopted mother.” She lost her son on this day and I lost someone I cared for dearly. I’m not one to believe in the “it was their time” mentality, but I’m also not going to strip this away from someone who uses this frame of thinking to help them live each day. I do believe that if you are willing, good can come out of the greatest pain.

Richie’s death left me feeling for the ground, searching for air, and reprieve from the onslaught of emotions. The insurmountable pain and the complete perplexity of knowing that there really isn’t anything you can do to change the current circumstance were terrifying. I have one vivid memory of being completely inconsolable and my grandma coming into my room, brushing my hair and acknowledging she knew there wasn’t anything she could say or do to help my pain ease. She allowed me to be in pain and that is a gift.

With grief, I believe you have to feel it fully and let it run its course. The pain becomes less, though can occasionally rise randomly, but life is still livable, enjoyable and full of hope and love. This was my first experience in losing someone very close, unfortunately it wasn’t my last in my late youth and 20s.

I learned I am breakable. But I’m also mendable. I lack control in many parts of life, but I can control how I view life and at least strive to live it fully and openly. That good can come out bad, even if you can’t see it at the time.

I extremely value my relationship with my “adopted mom.” She has been there, standing by my side while I mourned the loss of my mother, bestfriend, and as of late, my grandmother. She understands or at least knows the feelings of grief and of the battle to restart life. She has been a confidant, encourager, faith builder, and accountability friend. I am thankful to Richie for allowing me to meet his mother and for her continued love over the past years. Maybe that was the point of it all, who knows. I’ve learned to leave those questions at bay and just live in the moment.

“But grief still has to be worked through. It is like walking through water. Sometimes there are little waves lapping about my feet. Sometimes there is an enormous breaker that knocks me down. Sometimes there is a sudden and fierce squall. But I know that many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.” Madeline L’Engle

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