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Grief and what no one tells you

No one tells you that you may want to die. No one tells you that you may lie in bed and pray for your heart to stop. That even your most cherished and beloved children and husband may not be able to rouse you from the depths of your sorrow. That even the breathtaking sunrises and majestic shooting stars above won't give you pause.


No one tells you this.

I'm not talking about depression. Or suicide. Or hopelessness. I'm talking about how you may feel if a person you love so deeply, a person who knew and stood by you from birth -- and was supposed to be with you until death -- dies. All of a sudden. With no warning. Way too young. Frighteningly full of life. And then in an instant, they are gone.


My brother Anthony was Murdered. We were closer than most siblings. We were each other's keepers. He was my anchor, my last stop, my wingman for life. My cradle to grave When he died, I lost all connection to planet earth. A window opened between dimensions and I climbed right in.


'Take me with you,' I repeated. Over and over and over. It was disorienting and at times completely engulfed me. But it was the only place I wanted to or could be. For months I would drift in and out of this state.


And when you articulate this to friends and family, when you try to give words to these feelings, every alarm rings. Everyone starts to worry. Our culture has nowhere to put these dark feelings and sorrow.


No one tells you this. Not in our American culture anyways.

So now that I've made it to the other side, I will.


Each individual mourns differently, but I have now witnessed how many people suppress their grief for fear of upsetting others.

The urge to 'die' isn't exactly about dying. It's about holding on to your loved one with all your might, about delaying the separation for as long as humanly possible. It comes from the deepest source of connection a human can feel. From a sense that souls are entwined, like a living whole, and that when one half dies the other simply can't go on.


It is normal, it is born of love and connection, and it is okay.* You will return to this dimension, feel like you can live again, but not until you've seen the depths of that darkness.

The saying that kept me afloat on some of my hardest days was, 'the depth of your grief is equal to the depth of your love.'

That is exactly how it felt.


We sorely need more of this acceptance and courage in the face of pain in our society. Each individual mourns differently, but I have now witnessed how many people suppress their grief for fear of upsetting others or seeming too wounded. Suppressed grief is linked to depression, addiction, and can 'give rise to delayed and distorted grief'.


My telling you won't lessen your pain even slightly. But I hope to help you know that your pain is normal, socially accepted and even embraced in cultures less frightened than ours, and completely yours. When you tell me you just want to die, I for one will not be alarmed, but will say instead, 'I know. Of course you do.'

*This is not medical advice. Extended grief can turn into clinical depression, so always consult your health care practitioner.


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