I was in shock for sure and completely devastated, but I didn't lose my shit.
I couldn't come unglued.
I had a younger sister to consider.
I had a younger sister that had just lost her parents and if I thought I was too young at 35 to be going through this, she was definitely too young at 23.
Not to mention, there was so much to be done.
So many decisions that needed to be made right away. There were phone calls to make, e-mails to send, notes to take, questions to ask, the repatriation of their bodies, a funeral home to select, urns to chose, a service to prepare for, documents, signatures, lawyers, and then ultimately, homes to clear out and an estate to settle.
I didn't make any of tough decisions alone. Thankfully, I had my husband and my sister by my side, but it still felt like I was the one in charge.
My emotions could wait.
I thought I could delay my grieving process just a little longer.
Of course, I was wrong, so....
Four days after the memorial service, I returned to work in search of normalcy. Almost a year later I quit my job and discovered a new normal all together.
In the year that followed my parents deaths, I exercised like a maniac, which made me feel stronger physically. It also created endorphins that made me feel better mentally. Today, I'm an endorphin junkie!
I talk about my loss with anyone that will listen in a honest and open way.
I seek help in the form of a grief counselor or a glass of wine at the end of a particularly rough day, but have never turned to antidepressants.
I work through and with my sadness.
I go through photos and momentous and remember.
I could have curled up in a little ball and shut the world out, I could have let this tragic loss break me, but I made a conscious decision not to. It hurt like hell, but I chose to put one foot in front of the other and just keep living.
Some may say I've pushed my grief aside in an effort to avoid it or that I have compartmentalized it; placing it neatly on a shelf to address at another time, but I assure you I DEAL with it every day. It's always there.
It is definitely a long and arduous process but I have learned that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be and I am very proud of the way I have navigated through such uncharted territories, especially considering I became a mother in middle of all of it.