Death, oddly, is the easy part. When someone passes away, in that moment it is devastating. The world ceases to exist and we are tormented and consumed by our grief, our loss. That is the easy part. Laying to rest a loved one, watching those around you shed their emotional shrouds and grieve with you, suffering their loss, that is the easy part. In the moment of loss and the days and even the few weeks after, those are the easy parts. You have an army of loved ones that are there for you, their shoulder to cry on and cry with you. It gets easier to deal with the grief. That is the easy part.
The hardest part for those left behind comes years later, after you have moved on with your life and begin living your everyday lives again. It sneaks up on you and strikes with absolutely no warning. You’re happy and having a great time, maybe learning how to Snapchat for the first time, having an amazing time with those around you. You’re taking hilarious photos and videos, laughing and enjoying the little moments that make up our existence. Then it happens, that brief moment that your brain decides it’s on holiday and you think your loved one is still alive. You think, Oh my gosh, I need to show this to Mom, she’d love it. Then reality instantly stabs you in the heart and smiles down at you with the most sickening grin you’ve ever seen. When your consciousness finally realizes what has happened, that you can never share that moment with them, that debilitating grief grips your heart again. That’s the hardest part because you are instantly drawn back to that day when you lost that loved one. Your heart is filled with the same pain and anguish that you felt all those years ago, but now, you can’t show it. You have to keep a brave front and not bring those around you down into the pit of sadness you have instantly been kicked into. You have to go on and tuck that sorrow into you pocket until you’re alone.
In the days or weeks after that initial loss, everyone is feeling the same sadness, the same feeling of loss and if we suddenly breakdown into tears, it’s understandable. Those around us know exactly what’s wrong and are there to help. It’s years later, when your brain is an evil beast and torments you by letting you forget about your loss. It thrusts that moment back into your cognizant world at the most inconvenient times, making that grief just as fresh as it was ages ago. That is the hardest part for those left behind. We experience the same grief but we don’t have that army of loved ones around us to hold us up and grieve with us. Why is it in those moments of extreme joy that we have to remember? It’s hard enough in the quiet moments of our lives that we remember the loss. In the shower, lying in bed trying to fall asleep, those are hard but we can silently cry and feel the pain without bringing those around us down. The hardest part is hiding that anguish from our loved ones as to not bring them into that pit with you. That is the hardest part.