It’s Healthy To Feel All Your Emotions, Especially On A Death Anniversary
- Dec 05, 2017
- Category: Grief
It’s healthy to feel all your emotions, especially on a death anniversary.
It’s 7p in San Diego on November 14, 2017. At this time, 10 years ago, my sister killed herself from her basement stairwell. The pain of that day and mostly of the following (since I didn’t find out until 3am on November 15) haunt me. I’ve thought about this day for weeks, months, years. The 10-year anniversary is a big one. Or at least I’ve told myself it is, which is probably because my mom built it up in her mind as such, which, through osmosis, somehow burrowed itself into my psyche.
I spent most of last week and weekend at a suicide awareness conference in Michigan. Being around others who are deep in grief was difficult yet reassuring. It’s comforting to be around those who understand. Some attendees had just lost a child only 5 weeks ago. The incredible pain I felt 5 weeks after Miya died seemed just as palpable as I witnessed these people’s facial expressions from the podium.
In many ways, attending and speaking at the conference was enjoyable, but, I’ll admit, it was equally challenging. It made Miya’s impending death anniversary that much more intense. I spent what seemed all Friday crying, mostly in my hotel room as I attempted to work. Instead I caved into my pain and napped. I was upset about something another sister did, I was bummed about a fight with my boyfriend, I was angry Miya wasn’t there to fix it, to talk to me, to just make it go away. So I cried. I embraced all the emotions, what I could have bottled up and pushed away, and fucking cried. Deep tears that made my cheeks burn. It’s healthy to feel all your emotions.
I relieved the November 14 and 15 over and over. Especially November 15—the worst day of my life. The moments in the coroner’s office, touching my sister’s body, stitched up from the autopsy, her discolored tongue between her lips making her look like a monster.
So much of pain is an expression of regret. You don’t think about all the good; you instead relive every moment you wish you could have changed:
– Demanding she return to Michigan instead of insist she stay in Colorado and work it out with her husband.
– Booking a flight to be with her instead of journaling about her predicament in class in Baltimore.
– Wishing your mom had flown in 12 hours earlier.
– Wishing you had prodded a bit more, asked for more details when she’d whisper on the phone, not wanting to upset him.
You relieve it to dissect it. How did you miss it? Oblivion, immaturity, inexperience. You were ill-equipped to see it for what it was.
But today, 10 years to the day, I woke up happy. A bit tired, but happy. I felt like things were moving in the right direction for my blog, I felt good about the article I posted today, I got myself to yoga, I went in for another skin treatment for a blog collaboration. I was moving and going all day. I felt happy, at peace. A sense of joy, a release from within. And I was certain it’s because I did the work the entire week leading up to this day. I gave myself permission to grieve and to feel it. Which doesn’t mean it goes away; it simply means the heaviness retreats a bit.
Then finally, at 8pm, when I stood still for a moment, while writing these words, I cried. For the first time today, I cried. That in itself is very unlike me. I’m an emotional person. If I simply imagine something bad happening to my parents, I’m in tears. I intensely feel stories that play in my head and experiences I witness.
Someone could say, why share this since this blog post reads more like a journal entry. And I get it. It’s a bit depressing, it’s a bit TMI, but it’s real. And more people than you probably realize are struggling in the same way—either 5 weeks fresh or 10 years old. And so I share because it’s important to know you are not alone.
Grieve and celebrate your loved one how ever the hell you want. Laughing, crying, it’s healthy to feel all your emotions. It’s all okay.