Things I've Learned in the Last Year

I've learned a lot about misery in the last year. Around this time last year one of my best friends lost her father to ALS. Almost two months after that, she loft her mother to cancer. Today I watched as one of my dearest friends buried his mother after her battle with cancer.

1. I've learned that everyone grieves in the their own way.
Some people are open criers--they can't help it or they want people to know they are grieving. No matter the reason, they cry because they are sad and they are broken. Some people seem stoic. And for them this is the only way to be. Some people are healers; they worry about everyone else and make sure that everything is taken care of before acknowledging their own grief. The important lesson: remember that everyone grieves, even if it doesn't look the way you think it should.

2. I've learned that everyone grieves for different amounts of time.
Some people are ready to get back to their "real life" right away. This helps them cope with the loss. Some people need days or even weeks to simply grief without being asked to do anything more than that. Some people grieve during the day, others only grieve in private at night. Some people carry that grief with them at all times, even when they seem okay. The important lesson: give people time and try to understand where they are coming from.

3. I've learned that misery really does love company.
We've all heard the time old saying that misery loves company. This phrase is usually used to say that when you are miserable, you tend to attract other miserable people. Or when one bad thing happens another follows. But that's not what I mean. When we experience a loss, we are reminded that other people are experiencing the loss as well. People come out of the woodwork when we are grieving. I've seen it happen time and again. Funerals are full of people, some who have never met the person. But they are there to support the people they love. The important lesson: you don't have to grieve alone; there are people to help you through this.

4. I've learned that life is way too short.
58 years is not long enough. I may not understand why people pass on when they do, but what I do understand is that it is always too soon. This life can be amazing and full of wonderful experiences if you let it. The important lesson: live the life you want and let others live the life they want. Life is far too short to worry about what other people think of you.

5. I've learned that I cannot hold my emotions in.
There was a time in my life when I thought I had it altogether. I would tell myself I was fine, I didn't feel fine but I had everyone (including myself fooled). I have since learned that I am terrible at holding my emotions in and that it is terrible for me. Over the last year, I have cried more times than I could ever count. I've cried for myself, I've cried for my family, I've cried for my friends, I've cried for my students. I've cried about everything from frustration to stress to sadness to happiness and everything in between. I'm not an emotionally strong person. But I've learned to accept that.

6. I've learned that sometimes there are no words.
This one is pretty self explanatory. I can't tell these friends that I know what they are going through because I don't. What I can do is be there for them. Tell them I'm sorry. I can help, without asking what needs to be done. Sometimes you just have to step and help out in any way that you know. The important lesson: if you ask, they will (almost) always say nothing when in reality they just don't want to ask for too much.

It is with a heavy heart that I leave you to the rest of your weekend. Make sure you tell the people you love, that you love them.


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