My first truly harrowing experience with loss was in 2007 when my cousin and his girlfriend were killed in a highway accident. I was close with my cousin; we were born a year apart, grew up next door to one another, and went to elementary, high school, and university together, When he died I was very lost. And I did not surrender to or embrace the grief I felt. I wandered around for weeks in a bit of a fog, denying my feelings, until my mom pushed me out of it. Then I hit things. I screamed. I yelled. I cried hard. Weeks of bottled up emotions flowed out of me in that moment. After that, I saw a counsellor back at school. Made sure to talk about it when I felt I had to. Wrote my feelings down in letters I never sent. I wasn't "good at it." But I slowly accepted my grief for what it was.
8 years later, came the next most devastating blow. The blow so great I still marvel at my own survival. Ryan died. And I did things differently. I do things differently. From the beginning I let myself cry. In front of whoever. I didn't have to be strong for anyone. I just had to feel his loss. And by letting the tears come, letting the sadness wash over me, I never slipped into that volcanic anger I experienced when Marc died. The indescribable sadness was just allowed to exist.
One year later, and I have totally and completely surrendered to and embrace my grief. I have taken it on as another part of who I am. Some days I conquer the world, and some days I need to hide for a bit and feel sad. Those days don't seem to come on as often as they did in the beginning, but I think that's a product of not being afraid of it. Of taking it for what it is: Just one of the ways I have left to express my deepest heartfelt love for my first born son.