I Have Been Feeling It


It’s been an incredibly challenging week. Which is saying something seeing as how it has been an incredibly challenging 3+ months.

When Jessica first passed away, it’s almost as if everything was still so fresh that I couldn’t possibly feel it all. If my mind or body had allowed me to feel all of it, I wouldn’t have been able to function. We seem to have an ability to self protect in traumatic situations.

When I was at Jessica’s funeral, burial, or even when I was sitting with her and running my hands along her arm for one of the last times (a feeling I will never forget), I couldn’t process what was happening or what had happened. But I wanted to. I wanted to be able to feel it. Don’t get me wrong, I had devastating moments. I cried. I hurt. I couldn’t eat or sleep or talk to anyone other than the people who were alongside me. But I couldn’t really feel it all. I was sort of numb.

Maybe that’s because of how everything happened. The incredibly fast but incredibly slow process of waiting at the hospital with her, waiting at the hospice, waiting for good or bad… the worst or the best. Or maybe this is something that happens to most people when they lose one of their closest loved ones. A protective shield laid out by our brains that keeps us from being able to feel during these moments.

But in the last week, I have been FEELING it. I have been feeling it. I have had physical pain from my joints to my fingertips. Cringing moments of unbelievable and devastating realization of what my sister went through. Painful moments of knowing I will never be able to talk to her, ever again. Moments of regret thinking of all I should have said to her but did not. Heart twinging moments of imagining her children’s pain. Of wanting to make it all go away for them. Immense sadness for her husband, Justin, and the role he now holds as single father, widower.

The worst thoughts I have had are of her physical body. I don’t allow myself to linger on these thoughts. But as unwelcome as they are, they pop in my head. Thoughts of what happens to our physical bodies when we all die. And I’m sorry if this is offensive but believing in an afterlife doesn’t take away from the truths that lay in this thought (at least not for me). When you KNOW the soul… the person whose body it is… it’s just too much.

It’s so hard.

It’s hard to see the people I am closest to and do daily life with. Because I may be thinking about Jessica almost all day and see these people throughout that time, but (& no fault to them) they expect me to talk about normal things and be able to do normal things. They don’t bring it up. Not to say I would want them to even if they did. But it’s hard.

And it’s hard to talk to those people I am closest to but don’t see as often. The friends who love me so much. The ones who have told me they are here when I am ready to open up. Since Jessica passed away, I have had 3 conversations about it with some of these people. And the conversations are memorable because they are painful. I am so thankful to have friends that are willing to listen and empathize. I want to talk to them about it. But the conversations bring everything back up. Will there ever be a time that it doesn’t? And how are you supposed to see and talk to your best friends about anything normal with this huge thing lingering over it all? I know it’s possible, but it’s just weird. Again, it is hard.

It’s hard to see the people I wouldn’t usually open up to about personal things with. Because they know and I know they know this has happened. But they don’t acknowledge it, and neither do I.

And I get the other side of it. I get not wanting to bring it up and cause more pain. And being afraid of saying the wrong thing. And I totally respect that because I have been in that same spot.

I have insecurities about saying the wrong things too. I’m less likely to think about it after the conversation, which is very different than I used to be, but I think when something this bad happens you just kind of don’t care about “saying the wrong things” anymore.

I think the lingering hardest part about talking or not talking about any of it is that nothing will ever make it better. In the past when I have faced something difficult, I could have hope that maybe there was a reason or a purpose behind it. I could talk to my best friends and family because they genuinely could make me feel better. But now, nothing anyone says can give me what I ultimately want. Jessica will never come back to me. No one has any control over that.

Maybe the individual days will get easier, maybe the fierce pain I feel right now won’t always be here. But when I think of her, of how she died, of how she is dead… it will always hurt. I don’t believe I will ever hear something that makes me miss her any less. Talking through it I guess can help me organize my thoughts. Maybe I can let go of some of the moments I witnessed that are causing me to feel so much hurt for her. But I just don’t think the pain is going to go away. And I don’t want it to because I feel I need to carry it for her. The injustices she faced, the injustice of dying at age 31 when you are so perfect, so loving, so incredibly grateful for life… I need to feel that pain for her because she can’t.

I’m not really sure how to end my rambling… it all feels abrupt. Which is another reason why I have trouble talking about it with anyone. There is no end to the conversation of my sister’s death. There is no neatly wrapped up box to place it into. It is messy, it is sad, and it has changed the structure in which I once thought life was held.

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4 Comments

  1. Uncle Mark B wrote:

    Anna. I read every word. While I have empathy for you, I can’t say I truly understand the pain you are dealing with. I pray your heart heals and somehow through gods grace, you can get to a place where you are at peace. I love you. I pray your heart heals.

    Posted 11.18.19 Reply
  2. Carol Karlin wrote:

    You show amazing insight and are expressing yourself so well. I feel your pain from previous deaths, both personal and professional. There is no right way to grieve- everyone does it differently. Getting it out on paper and sharing it with family who were there is probably the best. You will heal with time and be able to remember only the good times- I promise! Keep writing. Love you Anna ♥️

    Posted 12.11.19 Reply
  3. Jenny C wrote:

    So much of what you’ve written speaks to what I experienced just two weeks ago as my dad was dying. He had myotonic dystrophy, and it is similar to ALS. When his esophagus weakened and he could only eat purées and thickened liquids I knew we wouldn’t have him much longer. We had to wet his mouth with a sponge dipped in liquid. I was scared to do it for him, but it was also the most loving thing I could do. His mouth was so dry. I haven’t been able to share those moments with anyone… seeing your loved one like that is just so awful and sacred at the same time. Thank you for sharing these moments. I too feel changed forever. Your words make me feel less alone.

    Posted 12.31.19 Reply
    • admin wrote:

      Thank you for sharing with me. Watching someone you’ve spent your life with go through something like this is a nightmare. It is bad enough that they are gone, but watching them go… it’s terrible. I am sorry. I am here if you ever need to share something or talk – you can DM or email me. You aren’t alone.

      Posted 1.2.20 Reply