This past week I went with a close friend to the cemetery where her friend is buried. It was the 25th anniversary of his death by suicide. She has been a very supportive friend when Boris was receiving treatment and after his death. Though the loss of her close friend at 18 years old was very different, I know that she can relate to at least a piece of my experience. The loss by suicide has its own specific hellish weight, I think.
I was honored that she asked me to go with her to remember her friend. She brought his favorite incense and burned it for him. When we got back into her car, she played Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. She said her friend was a talented pianist and used to play it. It was then that I felt the tears coming. I tried to mask it a little bit, knowing my sunglasses were hiding my eyes. But, the tears kept coming. She noticed. She told me she was sorry and she could turn the song off if that was what was upsetting. I told her it was okay and that it was a good kind of cry.
I have been thinking about why that hit me so hard. I mean, in some ways it feels obvious that I would be triggered by this experience. But, I thought I was okay, but then my body said, “nope, we are sad!” I wrote about crying in a previous post, which kind of explains what was happening. My body hadn’t released these emotions in a while and the weight of that moment was kind of a perfect storm.
Part of it was that 25 years feels like FOREVER. I cannot imagine being 25 years out from my loss of Boris. I am barely 3.5 years out now and it feels like no time at all has passed and a lifetime has passed at the same time. What will my grief feel like then? What will my life be like? Who else will I have lost? What will I have forgotten about him? These questions have swirled in my brain since this visit with my friend. 25 years feels so separate from him. It feels like there will be too much space between us. I was reassured by her memories, though. She told me a few things about her friend and what he was like. She remembers his funeral. I felt better somehow knowing that.
One thing I learned from this experience is that I do need to make some intentional time and room for my sadness. I think I need to sit with my emotions a bit more so that things do not feel so intense. I am feeling extra COVID anxiety again recently. And I know this means I am going to have to practice more self-care. My brain and heart are tired and anxious. I need to rest. I need to slow down. I hope you all find some time to self-care and honor your grief, too.