A Year After My Best Friend's Death, I Realized Grief Has No Timeline

by Georgina Casazza

One year ago, I wrote about my best friend passing away. I wrote about how broken I felt, how unimaginable the entire situation was and how I was learning that it is OK not to be okay. And yet, here I am one year later, telling you the same thing. I'm not OK, but I'm learning.

Through my unwanted knowledge of the process of grief, I've learned you'll have moments where you feel 100 percent fine. You'll go about your day feeling a semblance of what normal used to be, and it'll feel good.

But then, you'll come across a smell that reminds you of that person. You'll see the person's mannerisms in his or her mother when she tells a story. You'll hear a song the person would sing obnoxiously in your car whenever you went on an adventure around town. And then, all at once, you're no longer 100 percent fine.

You will have moments where you find yourself entertaining the fact that none of this is real. You will have moments where you wish you could have been the one to go instead of that person, so you don't have to feel the pain of the loss any longer. You will have moments where you search for some hidden meaning of why this had to happen.

And then, all at once, you'll go back to those fine moments. If I have learned one thing throughout this entire year, it is that time does not heal all wounds. My wound is still covered by the Band-Aid that's holding it all together, but I wouldn't want it any other way. If you don't let yourself rip off that Band-Aid from time to time to let yourself see the wound or feel the pain, it will just come back to haunt you even heavier later on. Trust me.

Unfortunately, I've spent a lot of my time this past year keeping that Band-Aid sealed tight. Whenever I feel like it may slip off, I throw my attention to something else, whether it's doing something productive like going to the gym or writing, or something mindless like watching Netflix or listening to music. I tend to shut my thoughts down. I know it's not healthy, but I'm working on it.

It's important to know that grief doesn't give you a timeline. I was afraid that each milestone would make me feel further and further away from my best friend, but thankfully, it has been the opposite.

The first birthday after his passing, I got together with some of his closest friends and we reminisced over our favorite memories together. The first Christmas we upheld our tradition, only this time, we laughed about the outrageous gifts he would buy or how much money he would spend on everything and nothing.

And now, on the first anniversary of his death, we dedicate that day to doing something we've never done before: trying something new, and not being afraid to do so. It's exactly what he would have done.

Sometimes I feel so incredibly sad wishing you could be here, living the amazing life you lead. I'll wallow in my pity and waste my days away. But, it's on those days I need to remember to do right by you.

Lead life the way your loved one would have, whether it's helping others, having crazy amounts of fun or loving the people around you. Remember that you have something your loved one doesn't: You're still here.

It's been a year since I've lost my best friend, and I'm not OK. And that is still OK. I am in the midst of creating a new normal, a normal where he is still here with me, just no longer physically. As for the weight I felt as soon as I found out he was gone, it's still here.

Yet, it doesn't hold me down as much anymore. The weight is a bit lighter, a bit easier to manage. I like to think that means I am stronger.