December 23 18

Recently, Isabella came home distraught.

Her friend, it seemed, as eighth grade friends often do, exclaimed “OMG I’m so upset I’m going to die!”

My sweet and sensitive soul of girl, though, still knee-deep in wading the waters of missing her cousin terribly, of feeling an India-shaped hole in her heart, takes exception to the phrase “I’m going to die” because the concept of death has become something very real and very tangible to her. She understands what it feels like to have someone she loves die.

Because she’s thirteen and feels her feelings out loud, she told her friend not to use that phrase.

“But then she just looked at me and said, BUT IT’S NOT MY FAULT THAT YOUR COUSIN DIED!” She told me, burying her tears inside my tight squeeze.

“You know, love, your friend is so lucky. She doesn’t understand because she has all of her cousins, and she cannot even for a tiny second understand what it’s like to be in your position. She CANNOT know how sad you are. She just cannot know her words affect you. And you know what? Not everyone gets upset by that phrase. I’m sure I hear it several times a day and it doesn’t even register to me, yanno?”

Grief is different for everyone.

— For me it looks like waking up every morning and having to remind myself that yes, this is real life, and she’s really not here. For me it looks a little like a depression + anxiety cocktail. For me it looks like — and this is not something I’m proud of — being upset with two friends because they never said anything to me when India died; they didn’t call, text, email, put a tiny heart on anything I wrote about her on Facebook or instagram, or say anything in person. As I said, I’m not proud of it, but grief is a beast that doesn’t like to follow rules of any kind. —

We are driving to Washington, D.C. on Tuesday morning to spend a week hugging, laughing, talking, crying, feeling, experiencing, and hitting up everything Smithsonian {Thank you Smithsonian for staying open even though your president is a clown} with my family. We are doing something different for the holiday vacation this year because it’s necessary, because even though each and every one of us feels that India-shaped hole every day, it feels heavier and harder this holiday season. It’s impossible to scroll through my Facebook memories of this time of year last year and the year before, because there are photos upon photos of India’s sweet, smiling face.

So, this crew of seven cousins will be in Washington, D.C. for the next 8 days, and even though grief is different for everyone, I’m pretty sure for these seven it’s the same right now — because they know it should be eight. 

  1. Nothing to do but send you love love love.
    Also after losing a couple close friends this past year I don’t ever use the phrase “I wanted to die” or anything similiar anymore.
    Your response to your daughter was perfect by the way.

    Comment by Jpm2375 on December 23, 2018
  2. Oof. My heart.
    Thank you for writing.

    Comment by Gav on December 24, 2018
  3. xoxoxoxo

    Comment by Kristabella on December 27, 2018

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