The Waves of My Grief

Today’s blog is not really related to our typical topics or norms at Omni of disordered eating, chronic dieting, social justice, and/or body image. However, this topic is unavoidably present for me right now and feels most authentic for me to write about, so here we go. This one is for anyone out there who is or has experienced a significant loss. 

I lost my brother almost six months ago, very unexpectedly and within about three hours of knowing he was in the hospital for something very serious. Over these last six months I have been a student to the process of grieving, to the stark reality of loss as it sinks in and gnaws at my sense of self and all the things I thought were true. I have at times felt as though I was in the midst of an existential crisis and other times an identity quandary. Nothing feels grounding or seems to make sense anymore. 

The day before my brother passed I found out that I was pregnant. I lost the pregnancy exactly five weeks to the day after losing my brother, both Fridays. I was nine weeks pregnant. I had to have a D&C. It was Friday the 13th. I remember lying there, drugged up on some anti anxiety and pain meds, having my insides vacuumed out, and feeling as though this was a perfect metaphor for everything I was feeling emotionally since losing my brother. 

The range of emotions I have experienced since losing my brother and then my unborn child has surprised me. I have been angry with myself, at my brother, at other family members and friends, and with the concept of death in general. I have felt sad and depressed – which is the expected emotion, or at least what I tell myself I “should” be feeling. When I don’t feel sadness I feel guilty for abandoning my brother and “moving on” in some way. 

I feel numb A LOT. I think this is in some ways a protective factor that keeps me above water and able to go about my day to day tasks without crying through them or throwing in the towel and succumbing to a life of Netflix surfing while sipping hot tea and using up copious amounts of tissues. The numbness does not feel good though. It is aggravating and only contributes more to my feelings of guilt and that I “should” be feeling something else, like more sadness or despair. 

I feel a lot of regret for how things were between my brother and I at times. We had a pretty typical relationship, I was the older sister and he was my little brother. We had a deep and true love for one another, and we were skilled at knowing each other’s pressure points and most sensitive pokes. We often had heated debates related to anything and everything, and also spent time getting to know each other in our adulthood over a cup of coffee or a gin and tonic, what became my brother’s favorite drink in his maturity. 

More recently I have also been beginning to feel more joy. I have been able to step into the beauty; to look back fondly on memories I share with my brother and at his life with a sense of peace and resolution. This is fleeting, but when it’s there I try to embrace it and not judge myself for not feeling sad. It is cathartic to look through old photos, reminisce on the good times and the bad, and to write about how I am feeling. Speaking of writing, here is a song/poem I wrote about a month after he passed and a couple days after losing my baby. 

Hearts shattered

Where do we go from here

Remains scattered

It’s all in pieces now

 

What happens when

Life ends before it begins

Your heart was beating

It lost its way

Was it your time

That’s what some will say

 

I loved you.

Did I know you

Do we ever really know

Or is this just a make believe show

 

A façade, a dream

A fucked up fantasy

Does the pain ever escape

Or am I forever in remains

 

I believe I knew you

You were and are a part of me

Where can I find you now

Without you who will I be

 

I am lost, I am not found

I wander aimless and without hope

I want to see you in all I see

But I am losing my grasp with every day that is passed

 

Is loss the way to be found

Brokenness the door to healing

Pain the window to the soul

Heartache our destiny, without which we are not whole

My aim in writing this blog is to hopefully touch any of you out there who maybe sifting and churning through the process of grief and loss. I hope that this offers some encouragement, some sense of togetherness and community, a feeling that you are not alone, that your emotions deserve space and time, and that each one of them is here for a reason. Grieving is likely one human experience that we will all endure at some point in our lives. Know you are not alone.