The Difference in a Decade
In the beginning, I didn’t know how I was going to survive to the next day. My first thought when I awoke was, oh no my brother is dead. The physical heartache, tears, lethargy, fatigue, loss of concentration followed; my body even forced me to stop eating gluten and dairy.
There was a deep heaviness within me and how I saw the rest of the world. Some days it felt like a depressive cloak over me that I couldn’t remove. As time moved forward, Chris’ death day — the 22nd of each month — protruded out in my mind and on every calendar I looked at. I’d anticipate of another month or year of my brother not being in my physical life.
Chris has been gone now for 10 years and 9 months. What is the difference in a decade?
Becoming an Active Griever
Early on, I decided in order for me to move from survival into some form of thriving I had to be a more active participant in my own grief process. I went to local grief coalition meetings. Attended the monthly TCF chapter meetings. I started back in individual therapy. Then I became certified as a grief specialist and grief educator. I learned the language to help advocate for myself and other grievers too.
What is the difference in a decade? After a while, I felt well enough to give back to the same organizations that had given me compassion, understanding, and validation. Actually, I was able to remove the depressive cloak through being an active participant in my own grief journey.
A Decade Later
I no longer feel the debilitating heartache because of the death of my brother. Of course, I get sad. Of course, I will miss him to my last breath. This is the difference in my first decade without Chris. It will be interesting to see what my second decade of grieving my brother looks like. I know one thing he is always within me, encouraging me from beyond.
In honor of Christopher Daniel Bauer, who died by suicide August 22nd, 2012.
Written by his little sissy, Maggie Bauer. April 22, 2023
Certified Grief Recovery Specialist®
Certified Grief Educator®
Maggie has been the sibling loss facilitator for the Minneapolis chapter of The Compassionate Friends for several years. For more information, visit https://www.compassionatefriends.org/.