I want to thank YBCer Asha for her beautiful writing, and for being brave and vulnerable in the hopes to help others who have also dealt with tragic loss. xoCandace
When I think about my life I think of it in two parts, there’s Part A and Part B. It’s not just a metaphor, I can actually envision someone ejecting the first dvd since it had played all the way through and placing the next one into the player because they were ready to watch what happens next. Part A and Part B, Disc 1 and Disc 2 if you will.
Part A is mostly happy, it is a place of safety, and most of my life was care-free. I won’t lie, there were definitely bumps in the road, but we can call them speed humps. You know, the ones that are wider and definitely don’t have that ‘my butt just came off my seat because I forgot to slow down’ feeling. Part A had so many ‘I’m crying, I sound like a seal, it hurts to breathe’ laughs that it might have been considered a comedy.
Then something happened: something unexpected, something tragic, something that made my entire world stop; I guess we could call it the moment someone ejected Disc 1 of my life. She died.
I hate to say that the easiest memory for me to bring forward is when one of the people who loves me most had to give me the worst news I'd ever hear in my life. But I guess that makes sense.
After-all, that's the moment that started the second part of my life. The moment I broke. The moment I shattered into something no one could pick back up.
What can I say to her about that moment?
I remember the way the morning was silent except for the birds, I remember how the sun was peering in through the blinds, I remember sending that quick "good morning, I love you" text to my boyfriend; I remember every part of the last few minutes of the first part of my life. I especially remember the words “Paris is dead”.
That’s it. That’s the moment that changed my life. It’s the moment that made me not just break, but shatter into a million tiny pieces.
Here I get to label the two parts of my life:
Part A: with you. Part B: without.
I get told all the time that this is an over-exaggeration, that I’m still the same person I was before that moment. That I don’t have two separate parts of my life. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me “it’s time to move on with your life” or that “it’s time to get back to yourself”, well let’s just say I wouldn’t be applying for scholarships for my Yoga Teacher Training course.
So let me ask you all who've never been tragically struck by grief: do you know how difficult it is to pick up a million tiny pieces of broken glass and not get cut along the way?
Most days I pick the pieces up carefully, some days I pick up a few hundred pieces without any effort, but then there's those days when I drop a piece as I'm picking it up and it breaks into two.
Now I've broken into 1,000,002 pieces over her.
Number wise, if I picked up 100 pieces every day it would be 27 years before I've picked them all up. But I know for certain I'll be picking up those broken pieces, that shattered person I became the day she died, every day for the rest of my life.
And that's okay.
Do you hear that... everyone who's ever told me I need to "get over it"... I'm okay with being broken. I'm okay that I might never figure it out. I'm okay with no longer being "Part A".
I’m okay with the fact that her death didn’t just bring me a grief I’ll never finish grieving, but that it brought me depression, PTSD, OCD, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
(That girl sure sounds like a whack, huh? I’ve got my design flaws, but they can’t break apart my character).
I’m okay because I believe that the shattering, the broken, the fact that I'm still picking myself up - well, that speaks to her. It speaks to the role she played in my life, it screams to the world and to me just how important she was. It allows me to never forget that even though I'm married, even though I have friends that have become family, that it was always her. My sister is always going to be my number one.
Paris, you are and always have been irreplaceable.
If you’ve lost someone and you feel like you’re broken, and you can’t understand why you can’t get back to that person you used to be, I’m here telling you you’re not alone.
Maybe you didn't lose your only sister, maybe we don't completely relate. Maybe it was a cousin, a husband, a parent... it doesn't matter who you lost, it matters that you've felt the way I do: that you've broken into a million pieces.
This piece of my heart, the tears streaming down my cheeks as I write this - it's to tell you that you're not the only one who has felt so broken. That even though you feel alone, there are people that relate to you out here, there are others that know that very pain you feel. I don't know you, but that's a place in my heart for every single one of you.
I'm still here 5 years later. Mostly happy, mostly strong. Yet indefinitely broken. That's what happens when the person you're supposed to spend your life with dies decades before it's supposed to be over. You break. Indefinitely. And it's OKAY. Just keep picking up the pieces, keep creating your new version of happiness, and please keep going outside to feel the warmth of the sunshine reminding you that you’re still alive.
Author Bio: Asha Drew (26), currently living in San Diego, can most often be found at the beach with her Corgi/Lab mix Bruin. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in the Spring and promised herself when she was done writing essays for school she’d start writing for her own enjoyment again. Asha is a wannabe health-nut who refuses to give up chocolate, an aspiring yogi, and has a love for all things from New England. You can find her on instagram.