Loss is no stranger to us, especially as we venture further into the exciting and uncharted territory that is our twenties.
Most of us would agree that the worst form of loss is the death of a loved one. Try as we may, there is no answer to the one question that continues to hassle both our hearts and minds: Why?
"Why did this happen?" "Why didn't I get the chance to say goodbye?"
Not knowing the answer to these questions can land us in a stalemate of emotional turmoil for weeks, months and even years at a time. It will continue to seem like no one can understand the relationship you had with that special person, but the truth is, no one can answer the whys for you.
I am here to tell you that handling the death of a loved one does not have to be the end-all to our undoing.
When my father passed away, I was 13 years old. It happened suddenly and tragically, one week before a class trip to New York City and my middle school graduation. I was not given any time to grieve. Two years later, my aunt also passed away suddenly. I was left with so many unanswered whys.
Experiencing loss does not become any easier with age, since grieving is an ongoing process for which there is no immediate or quick fix. The same goes for a scraped knee needing to heal with a scab, or your body taking time to recuperate after a major surgery; you need time to heal after a death.
No one person grieves in the same way after losing a loved one, however. Years spent burying guilt and grief have led me to discover a little trick:
Writing Letters To Heaven
Find yourself a quiet place to write, wherever you feel most comfortable. Choose a medium on which to jot your thoughts, whether it be on your iPad, smartphone or even a small scrap of paper. This is a judgment-free zone!
There is no right or wrong way to express the powerful emotions you are feeling as long as it is done freely and from the heart. Now is your time to tell your special person the things you never had the chance to say, whether it be "I'm sorry," "I love you," or the hardest admission of all, "Goodbye."
This journaling exercise will be challenging, but can help you answer the whys through introspective honesty and self-reflection. Take these honest admissions, mirrored back to you on paper, as your first steps toward gaining acceptance and closure with the loss of the one you love.
Writing your own letters to heaven, or anywhere you believe the afterlife to be, can be your source of strength and liberation during these trying times. I want you to know that it is never too late to grieve, and that in some way, your voice will be heard by that special person you miss so much.