Facing the Present

29 candles for Ryan’s 29th birthday.

As you can see, finally I have my blog back in order!

These past few weeks have been very challenging (to say the least) and to have blogger suddenly act up on me and refuse to let me put up pictures this past week was not something I was prepared to deal with, along with everything else that had been going on!

It has felt like everything has been exploding around me at once lately, and that all I can do is then shield myself from the blows and then scrap myself together from the bits of debris that remain after each eruption. But to understand the situation completely, I would see that these sudden jolts to my reality were present all along, but I had just become so accustomed to pushing the difficult and painful realizations away that when they could no longer be suppressed and blew up in my face, it felt as though they were coming from nowhere.

Last night I celebrated my brother’s 29th birthday. I made a cake, sang happy birthday, and blew out the candles. It has been nearly ten years now since he died. Every year this is something that I do to help me cope with the realization that though I kept on living and continuing to move forward with my life, his was cut short by a battle with leukemia. Ten years seems like a long time, doesn’t it? But so often the pain of missing him and acknowledging that he is gone feels so fresh and raw that it seems like it was only days ago that I was sitting in the hospital with him on the very last day we were together.

Ryan and I growing up together

I think that people have an idea of what it is supposed to feel like to go through such a tragic loss, and believe that there is some sort of formula to follow in “healing” or “moving on” but the truth is that once something happens in your life that rips you apart so violently, you can never really heal from it. You can feel less pain every day or still find happiness in other things, but you can never move on or completely seal the wound of loss. And it’s okay. I find that people often say in times of extended grief, “don’t dwell on the past”. This can be good advice in some ways, as it is unhealthy to fixate your thoughts on events that you can not change, but how we are shaped and influenced by the past becomes so much a part of our present that it is impossible to keep it from affecting your current life.

Ryan at age 19, in the same year that he died

Knowing this, I feel like I am now teaching myself to find ways to instead integrate this loss into my current life, and try to remember Ryan without going to a place of only self-pity and helplessness in my mind. I suppose that all I can really do is teach myself how to survive and continue living, cherishing all the little bits of happiness as I go, so that I have something to hold onto when the sadness and heartbreak feels all-consuming. I realize now how important it is to acknowledge these little moments, and now as I bring myself to a place where I move forward in my life, I try to fill every day with as much happiness as possible, because in the end, that’s all you really can do to make it all worthwhile.

It will be a lifelong process for me to realize and realize again what I need to make myself happy and move forward with my life, (while cherishing and honoring the relationships that I have,) but a process that is filled with millions of little accomplishments, that put together, create a beautiful and unparalleled existence.

Are you working at finding your own bits of happiness?



2 thoughts on “Facing the Present

  1. I'm so so sorry for your loss, Camille. I can't even imagine. That's the kind of loss and grief that will be with you forever and nobody would expect otherwise.

    So sorry to hear about this blogger too. That sucks. 😦

    Things will turn around quickly. They always do.



  2. Camille, I can't even imagine what your family has gone through. Ryan was my god brother, and it has made me so sad. When I see his pictures, and read about your hard times. I think it's a little easier when it's someone who has lived a long full life. When it's someone who's life was cut so short, it's really difficult to understand why and accept the fact that you have to live without them. Time does heal a bit, but it's ok to be sad about it too. xoxo


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