The unexpected phone calls.
You know, the ones that change life that you knew?
The changes that grip your heart and soul. The grief, the tears, the longing, the aches.
A little more than one month ago, my cousin, Jaime, passed away unexpectedly. She was 33. She had a family, and a little boy, a loving fiance, and a system and collection of friends, and friends that were family, as far as anyone could ever wish to have.
In a world that doesn't seem fair, she was taken too soon. There are no words that anyone has been able to come up with that seem to comfort those that are left behind. There is nothing that can make this make sense. It is shocking. Jarring. And unfair.
I had to write a paper this semester about a memorial service for a grief and loss class that I am taking. I wrote about you, Jaime. And it was hard. But I shared it with the class, and now, I am going to share it here. Or at least, the parts that make sense to share. Because while it doesn't seem "fair" or "right" that we are all still here, left to go on without you, it is the task we are faced with and given.
"....Due to the unexpected nature of Jaime’s death, it doesn’t feel as though my personal grief has truly begun. While it was great to have our entire family, including many family members from out of town able to be present for the services, the common theme and the common sentiment was that everyone was still primarily in shock. It didn’t feel real. It didn’t seem as though it was truly Jaime laying in the casket that was before me.
...As a person who is also actively participating in the grief and loss process currently, it seems as though these services provided a way for me to begin the grieving process. However, now that it is almost 2 weeks later, the 3 days of calling hours and funeral services, seem to be a blur. I remember them, but it feels as though it was a dissociative moment, as though I was going through the motions, but that it wasn’t truly happening. The act of going through the motions truly presented a grasp on the concepts of traumatic grief, as there were no opportunities to say goodbye, no closure on a relationship other than that the person whom you shared a relationship with, is no longer present.
Traumatic grief services provide a chance to come together. But I feel like it is, at least for myself, such a beginning point in the grieving process that it is more customary than healing. No one wants to be there, because it is unexpected. The real work and the real grief comes later. The breakdown. The longing. The deep feelings of loss. The emptiness. The sadness. The day to day living with grief. The day to day actions of moving forward, with an emptiness inside. The lack of closure. And I am not sure there is a ceremony or service, no matter the readings, the involvement, that can change that. "
We are all missing you, Jaime. Every day. But we will continue on for you, because we have to. Because we are strong, and that is what you would want. Love forever, family always, strength together. <3 Love.