When did you realize that it can happen to you?
Bad things do happen to good people. All the time. But until it happens to you, it’s not a very real or pressing possibility.
My sister Lisa holding me, at home on the ranch, 1982 or so.
Most people start off life thinking that nothing bad can happen to them or their families. It’s not conscious thought, usually. We realize something could happen, but in our day-to-day lives we operate on the belief that terrible, unexpected things happen to other people. Those other people are not us. We feel terrible for those other people and try to help however we can, but we don’t expect to find ourselves in their shoes.
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If you’ve never navigated your way through grief before, the first time can be very confusing and worrisome. Obviously, even if you’ve done it a thousand times, it can be quite horrible (though it doesn’t seem to be as difficult to navigate for some). I’ve seen friends go through it for the first time and aside from all the terrible parts of grief (you know, the crushing sadness, the exhaustion, the anger, the guilt or regret that sometimes accompany it), the process itself can really catch a person off-guard. It’s not always straight-forward and it certainly doesn’t fit into any convenient mould. Continue reading →