Jan 19th, 1982 was the worst day of my life. It will probably always be.
My sister who was 18 at the time died in a car accident.
Looking back on that day I realized her death rocked our family to the core. It tore up our foundation. We didn’t know how to operate without her in our lives. The grief was so heavy and dark, I didn’t know if we would ever survive it.
I was 11 years old when she died, my young innocent heart was crushed. It’s amazing how 1 day can change your life forever. I prayed so hard when she got hurt. I promised God EVERYTHING if he left my sister here. I remember pleading with him and begging him to help her, to help us and to keep her here. When she died I felt cheated. I felt robbed. And I was mad.
I remember crying so hard every night that I could feel my tears soak through the other side of the pillow.
My parents were divorced, my oldest sister was dead. I felt lost and invisible. My family was shattered. Mom was suffering, literally drowning in grief. What else could she do? A single mom dealing with the sudden loss of her oldest child. Now with kids of my own, I can only imagine.
It was a dark night of the soul for our family. I can’t remember how long it took us to breath again. But we did. We did breath again. We even danced.
When you lose a sibling. Your life is forever changed. In the obvious negative ways. A lot of heartache. Learning about loss so young. Longing and aching for that life with your sibling back. Rebelling because life was unfair and God didn’t do as you asked and spare your sister.
But it’s also forever changed in positive ways. You feel love from friends and family and even strangers that you’ve never felt before. That you never imagined possible. People come out of the woodwork to help you and your family overcome this grief. They feel closer to you because you’re so raw and vulnerable. New friendships emerge. You get to experience things you may never have experienced. You can forever help other people with loss and heartbreak because you dealt with it first hand.
And most importantly you learn to keep your family close. It can bring you closer together instead of shattering your foundation.
Every Jan 19th we get together, to celebrate the family that’s still here, and to celebrate Traci and the time we had with her.
It’s never an easy day. But it does help me reflect on how we got through our grief.
If you’re going through a dark night of the soul, keep going. You will breath again.
Here’s a few tips I feel helped me when going through that tunnel.
#1. Feel all your feelings.
Treat them as gently as possible. Feel them. Honor that feeling. And then move on. Try and climb up the emotional guidance scale. Don’t try to feel ‘HAPPY’ instantly, just try to feel 1 degree better.
#2. Focus on what you DO want.
Think of the end result. Think of your life in a few years and play it out in a positive way. Think of what would be IDEAL. The peace, the comfort, the love and support. Even the normalcy back again. Think about THAT and let it pull you there.
#3. Give it away to a higher power.
My favorite prayer. “Dear God, I release this situation to you, and I know it won’t result in pain, I give it away for you to create the greatest good for everyone involved”. Letting a higher power take over can feel really good. Sometimes we forget there’s more help out there than we’re tapping into.
#4. Do what makes you feel GOOD.
It’s more important than ever to feel good. A walk on the beach. That coffee you love. Laughing with a friend. Getting a mani pedi. Putting on your favorite song. DANCING. Yes dancing. Do things that make you feel good. It will help pull you forward. It’s sometimes the last thing you want to do but it’s the most important. Remember no amount of pain and suffering changes the past. So feel GOOD as much as possible. And the other side of the tunnel will be here before you know it.
And lastly, if you need any support through your loss I’m here for you.
You’re not alone. You will get through this. It does get easier.
Focusing on the good,
Founder and Happiness Coach at www.myhappilife.com