Grief Is My Roommate

Posted by Sara Pietila on

"Hello darkness, my old friend..."

Sometimes I think of that song when a grief fog is about to consume me. When the world gets fuzzy and I can’t remember what is worth getting out of bed for. Or where I put my car keys.

Maybe that isn’t where I should start this story.

Let’s start again:

October 24th, 2017 my best friend Lisa died. She’s dead. I often force myself to write or say that because I don’t know if all of me really knows she’s dead. I feel part of me is in an alternate reality where she is living on a remote island with no cell service. No wonder she never texts anymore.

It’s comical. And depressing.

Lisa was a writer and my best friend.

So, who was Lisa? Lisa was a writer. A social activist. She was mostly deaf. She had two genetic conditions, one of which took her life. And she was my best friend.

I met Lisa when I was 12 and she was 31. Our age gap may seem confusing but Lisa was, at first, the guardian of a dear middle school friend. Slowly, over a period of 7 years, she moved from mentor to best friend. Eventually, her presence would forge itself with my soul; she became a part of my DNA.

She wasn’t my mother, I already have a loving and amazing mother, but Lisa was an important maternal figure. And losing her has been quite like losing a piece of me. And, similar to my car keys, I keep looking for that missing piece and finding it isn’t there. That’s when the grief takes hold.

Grief is the most complicated emotion.

Grief is a strange beast. I often explain it just as I did at the beginning: as a fog. It rolls in with little to no warning and suddenly it’s difficult to see beyond your nose. Beyond your pain.

It is the most complicated emotion I’ve ever experienced because it really is a compilation of many emotions: sadness, joy, despair, etc. It’s not just the difficult emotions but the good ones as well. I watch our favorite TV show and laugh because almost all of our inside jokes came from its first 3 seasons. I’m also reading Nancy Drew mysteries because that was my nickname for her. These are joy-filled moments, followed by sadness, followed by anger, followed by exhaustion.

But possibly the thing that has thrown me the most is how grief has carved out space in my life and set up shop. It hung a sign, put out some beautiful plants, and made itself comfortable. It’s here to stay. At least for now.

And, strangely, I don’t mind. The pain is a reminder of her life. Of her impact on me. Of how her memory is still coursing through my veins and warming my body. Keeping my heart alive.

Grief isn't here to make me hurt...

You see, grief isn’t here to make me hurt, though it often does. Grief is really here to help me heal. To guide me through the loss. To help me process.

Without grief, the loss would be endless. I’d wake each day with a fresh wound. And sometimes it still feels really fresh. But I know, with grief as my guide, I am learning how to live each day in a world without Lisa. Which is sometimes so awful I hate thinking about it. But, that’s the only option I have: adapt to this new world.

Realizing this has taken away the fear of grief and replaced it with understanding. Instead of running from it I am leaning into grief. Sitting with it. Accepting its important role in my life.

So Grief, I’m glad you’re here. Just don’t leave too many crumbs on the couch.


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4 comments

  • Thank you, Krystal. Continuing sometimes feels impossible but I choose it anyway. I want to continue to spread the love Lisa gave to me.

    Sara on
  • Learning to live each day without your loved one because it’s the only choice we have. That is the truth. It seems so hard and so unfair, but continuing on is the only choice. ♥️

    Krystal on
  • Thank you, Nancy. I understand not wanting the pain or scars to fade. And I’m also glad you found a way to release the harder moments with love. Sending you even more love as you continue to walk with the grief of the death of your brother.

    Sara on
  • I love what you say about accepting grief and allowing it into your space. My brother died almost 4 years ago and to say finding out was the worst day of my life would be an understatement. Someone once told me that the pain will get better and the scars will eventually fade away – but in a way, I don’t want them to. The emotional scars that are carried from losing someone we love is a testament to them, to us, to our relationship with that person. Grief comes in heavy sometimes.. but I’m learning to release it with LOVE. Thank you for sharing your story and for sharing your love of your best friend. 💕

    Nancy on

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