Eleven Years Later

If you would have told me 11 years ago, when I first lost my fiancé Greg a few weeks before our wedding day, that I would be living a full life –  healthy and functioning – I would not have believed you at that time.

Losing your soulmate suddenly in a car accident without the ability to say goodbye or I’ll see you in Heaven when he was still alive is something I will always be working through. Sure I got to say goodbye to his physical body but not to his soul. My faith is what got me through one of the toughest losses of my life.

Sixteen Years Later

If you would have told me 16 years ago, every July 4th I would miss my grandfather immensely, I would have been apprehensive. Sixteen years later,  it makes sense because July 4th was a holiday my grandfather went all out in celebrating.

I have few fond memories of my childhood; yet most of the positive ones revolve around my grandfather. As a veteran he went all out on July 4th. Mostly I miss his company and the food. He loved to just go out on the patio and grill and be in his own zone. Rarely did he want others to bother him while he was cooking but on occasion I got to help out and just spend time together, to “share space” as I have learned as an adult.

Who knew 16 years later these moments are ones I would miss the most? It just hits me like his death was just yesterday. And not 16 years ago.  My grandfather was very special to me. He was like a second father. He protected me.

Such is the ebb and flow of grief.

The Ebb and Flow of Grief

When you first experience loss, it is in your face 24/7/365. There is no way around it those first days, weeks, months as your mind and heart try to cope and reconcile the loss and how you go on living without the person. It’s like a mask, one in which life is hard to see through the grief of profound loss.

As time goes on grief gets different and you learn to live with the loss of your loved one. It’s not always easy and every person’s journey is unique to them and to the relationship they had with their loved one.

‘Making the Turn’

At a certain time in your healing journey, one takes what I refer to as “making the turn”. “Making the turn” is when you accept you have to move forward with your life and to create a new normal. Your new normal is yours to create. You always hold a space in your heart and mind for those you have lost, but you learn to live with the loss (es) and adapt. You build a new life after the loss of a spouse or child. You learn to continue with your life after the loss of a parent, grandparent, or sibling. You in essence create a new normal while learning to live with the loss.

Some days are harder than others. Thank God, the universe or the divine that the grief is not always soul crushing as it was those first few months and years. That the grief is not in your face all the time. The mask comes off!

A Joy-Filled Life

Some days it feels like it just happened yesterday. Maybe it’s a birthday, anniversary, the day they died, a holiday or some other significant event that causes you to experience the grief in your face again.

Such is the ebb and flow of grief.

I am here to tell you grief changes and the grief gets different. The scars from the loss are always there; you remember your loved one and learn to live a full life after loss. If I can lead a full and joy filled life after profound loss, so can you.

Brandi Reyna

Ms. Reyna is a creative soul with a passion for helping others. Her faith is very important to her and is reflected in her writings. She writes about her faith and the role it plays in her grieving process and how she grieves. Ms. Reyna's purpose for writing is to give voice to and shed light on unique losses. Ms.Reyna's articles focus primarily on building and living a new life after the sudden loss of her fiancé; the subsequent grief associated with sudden loss, her identification as an "unwedded widow" (a widow who was not legally married to her beloved), loss of a parent (grandparent) and creating a new life while living with loss. Ms. Reyna shares her journey to encourage others in their own faith and in their own healing journey. She hopes that by sharing her story and leading by example through her own life that her journey will show others that we can experience significant and impactful losses and still experience a full and joy-filled life after loss. Ms. Reyna holds a Master of Arts degree in Professional Studies with a specialization in Counseling.

More Articles Written by Brandi