Loss of any sort is not something any of us like to experience, but it’s what comes with life. It is natural, yes. But that doesn’t make it any easier to accept.
We all deal with our emotions differently. I’ve been contemplating this a lot lately. I have personally never lost someone very close to me to death, yet. I understand one day this will happen. I have lost friends. I have lost family. I have been beside many friends, families, acquaintances and even strangers sides through their losses as well. And what always comes after is grief.
“Grief may be a thing we all have in common, but it looks different on everyone. It isn’t just death we have to grieve. It’s life. it’s loss. It’s change. And when we wonder why it has to suck so much sometimes, has to hurt so bad, the thing we gotta try to remember is that it can turn on a dime. That’s how you stay alive. When it hurts so much you can’t breathe, that’s how you survive. By remembering that, one day, somehow, impossibly, you wont feel this way. It wont hurt this much. Grief comes in its own time for everyone, in its own way. So the best we can do, the best anyone can do, is try for honesty. The really crappy thing is that you can’t control it. The best we can do is try to let ourselves feel it when it comes. And let it go when we can. The very worst part is that the minute you think you’re past it, it starts all over again. And always, every time, it takes your breath away. There are five stages of grief. They look different on all of us, but there are always five.. Denial. Anger. Bargaining. Depression. Acceptance.”
I woke up this morning to yet another unfortunate text about someone who had lost a loved one, their pet to be exact. Instantly, I felt overwhelmed with emotions. Those of you who know me, know I have a soft spot for animals. And then, suddenly, my mind was flooding with memories of the loss I had experienced last year. At the time, I didn’t know when my pain would end. My depression took over me.
How will I get through this?
When will this heart wrenching feeling end?
Will it ever end.
These questions floated around me while I sulked in despair, feeling hopeless. Feeling pathetic to be feeling so much through a break up. Yes, a break up. I was embarrassed but the heartbreak was real. The loss was real. And it wasn’t until I started talking to people about it that made me realize I wasn’t crazy. I lost someone very dear to me. Were they still alive? That depends on how you look at it. Yes, they were breathing. But it was as if their soul vanished. Their heart, empty. A living, walking zombie.
I was at my lowest point. I shut down. My family and friends were there, but I mentally wasn’t. I wanted to be alone. But I was never truly alone. I always had someone beside me. Through every moment I was lucky enough to have this one special someone through it all. That someone saved me; she became my collateral beauty.
The crazy thing is, just a year prior to my loss, I had saved her life. Little did I know she was going to be saving mine. I didn’t know it then, but I needed her just as much as she needed me..
In 2015, while admiring the sunset in San Juan, Puerto Rico, there she was, this little helpless kitten. Her heartbeat was so strong, her cries so loud. The tiniest furry body I had ever seen. I felt an instant connection and I couldn’t walk away. I saved her life and a year later, she would be saving mine.
She gave me a reason to push forward, to find acceptance in my heart for my peace. Peace for my mind. Peace for my body. Peace for my soul. I was hurting myself daily. Making myself sick. Driving myself up and down these tormented walls that I had felt trapped within. I thought I was going through it alone. But Aura, my rescued little fur baby loved on me every day and every night. Come December of 2016, I watched this movie in theatres called "Collateral Beauty". The basis of its story was that we can find beauty, even through loss. There it was. I was trenching through this sea of misery, trying to understand. Trying to let it go. Not realizing that Aura was my collateral beauty. She was all I had left from my break up. And all I needed from it too. I found myself again through the love I felt for her. And I will forever be grateful for that.
No matter what, we will all go through it. Time is not promised. That must not stop us from loving or living. Because after every storm comes a rainbow. Over every hill, we can see the horizon. Life, loss, grief, love, happiness, growth.. let it be. There is an end to every story. Make each story count.
Find the beauty in everything.