Happiness, Life

Traces of You

IMG_5487After a few weeks of tossing and turning throughout the night, I realized the best way for me to get back to a peaceful sleep would be through jotting down my thoughts. So, that’s what this is — it may make little to no sense at times, but my mind has been racing for a while now, and it’s about damn time I do something about it.

To get you all up to speed, on Sunday July 19th, my grandmother passed away. My entire family knew this would happen one day, especially given her multi-year battle with dementia, but it’s still a blow to the chest nonetheless. I do not believe anyone is ever really fully prepared to see someone go, whether the death is incredibly sudden or it has been a slow decline — that final goodbye never comes easy.

As soon as my mother told me about my grandmother’s passing — at about 2am in case you were curious — my mind went from zero to 60, it was a bit frightening to be honest. Memories began flooding my mind, from when I was a kid to the last time I saw my grandmother on July 3rd. However, this post isn’t about the countless memories my grandmother and I made together, it is about all that I learned and realized in the weeks following her death.

When a key piece of your life is no longer in it, it is quite difficult to keep going forward — you second-guess yourself often, and at least for me, you wonder if this whole thing called life is worth it. We get out of bed every day, pull ourselves together, and go about our business for what? I mean, what is the point of living if we are only moving another moment closer to dying. This is the precise thought that runs off in my head and needs to be caught before it snowballs into a more overwhelming issue.

During the first semester of my Sophomore year, a close family friend passed away — I had known he was pretty sick, but it never hit me how sick until his passing. I was devastated, and the second I was alone, my mind began to hold the daily debate — to live or not to live, that is the great question. Overwhelmed by my negative thoughts, I attempted suicide for the second time.

I remember sitting in the hospital wondering how I ended up here yet again — I thought I was better, in a more positive place — but I soon realized that I was only fooling myself. Until I got a grip on the tug-of-war in my mind, I would not be able to make any real, true progress.

When I returned to my dorm a few days later, one of my best friends had written such a powerful quote on the whiteboard next to the door that I haven’t been able to shake it from my mind since reading it. In bright dry erase marker with a flower drawn underneath, the quote read, “Everyday may not be good, but there is something good in every day.” Such a simple sentiment, yet it holds such great truth. It has been about five years since that quote appeared next to my dorm, however it still feels as though I read it for the very first time yesterday.

I’ve digressed a bit, but I guess what I’m ultimately trying to say is that when my grandmother moved on, that same thought that snowballed out of control in the winter of my Sophomore year failed to cause an avalanche this time. And, well, not to toot my own horn, but I’m so proud of myself for that.

Upon hearing of my grandmother’s passing, the great debate was ignited in my mind as anger and sadness filled my heart. However, as I previously stated, I was able to stop this negative thought from running wild thanks to the tools I’ve gained over the years, but also the fantastic support system I have surrounded myself with.

You never realize who truly cares about you until you see who sticks around when you are at your absolute lowest. For me, my grandma dying was definitely a low point — I was filled with so much sadness, but instead of dealing with it, I bottled it up to try and keep it together so I could be there for my family. In case you aren’t catching on, that was a poor decision — I began to lash out with anger and annoyance instead of just embracing the sadness in my heart and letting it out in a healthy manner. Despite how shitty I was — especially to my family and friends — those who understood what I was going through stuck around, not leaving my side for a single moment.

I discover traces of my grandmother within my soul, and I thank her for leaving these remnants of herself with me — they give me strength, joy, and comfort when needed most. To be anything like the human she was would be such an honor. She may no longer physically be here, but she will always be a part of me and my life.

We all know that life is complicated, frightening, and so unpredictable, and it’s incredibly easy to become wrapped up in the downsides of it all — but what about the perks? Every day you wake up and get your ass out of bed, you have the opportunity to experience joy, love, and countless other uplifting emotions. During the tough times, you need to focus on all those positive emotions no matter how dim and far off experiencing them may seem. It is up to you to choose to continue your story — you’ve made it this far, so why stop now?


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