the only way out is in.

It’s amazing how alone we can feel until we encounter someone who understands the inconsistent beat of our terrified heart. I know all too often how it feels to be in a room full of thousands of people and still feel so alone. To try and fill that void is a lost cause because, often times, the only person who can fill that void is no longer here.

I lost my dad in the end of March and it felt as though the world had been ripped out from underneath me—literally.
I couldn’t walk. Breathing felt like a chore. And, believe me, there were days it took everything in me to remember to blink. Nights were (and still remain to be) the worst. Waking up and having to re-remember the reason your eyes are puffy and your head is pounding is a fate I’d never wish upon anyone.
But it’s a fate that every single one of us will have to encounter at one point or another.

 

I’ve always used writing as an outlet; a way to try and make sense out of all the mixed up emotions my heart is telling me I should feel. But when my dad passed away, I stopped writing. It was like my fingers forgot how to work. Every so often something would inspire me and I would write something small, but it never really felt like I was getting out what I needed to say.

This week, I received a message from a fellow soul experiencing loss, taking time out of her day to thank me for putting words to some of the things her heart was experiencing.

It was then that I realized I’ll never really be able to find the perfect words or come up with an accurate description for all of the thoughts and feelings and emotions that I experience day-to-day (and sometimes minute-to-minute) but I should keep writing anyway. I should keep writing because these words don’t deserve to be trapped inside of me forever. I should keep writing because there’s someone, somewhere who might be able to find comfort in my jumbled attempt to make sense out of something that will never actually make sense.

 

Losing someone sucks, you guys.
Every loss is different, but the pain and grief we feel is the same.
We’re all just delivered the emotions in a different colored package.

 

Regardless of this knowledge, I still have a lot of days where I feel like I am the only person hurting.

I am the only person who understands what it feels like to lose someone close to me and I am the only person who could ever know what it feels like to physically feel your heart breaking inside of your chest.

But the more I write and the more people I get the opportunity to connect with, the more I learn that we are all broken in one way or another. And each time, I’m reminded that if we all threw our problems into the middle of a circle, we would probably end up taking our own problems back.
They are part of where we’ve been, where we are headed, and who we will ultimately become.
Our cracks and scars are not something to be feared and hidden, our cracks and scars are proof that we survived.

There are people in our lives who will analyze our broken pieces and there are people who will take us into their arms and somehow manage to hold all the broken pieces into place.

But when all distractions are removed and we are left alone with our thoughts and our brokenness, the cracks are still there.
And they always will be.

I am learning to accept this. I am learning to be thankful that I had someone in my life who is so damn hard to miss. I am learning that letting my heart miss my dad is essential, and that letting myself still feel happy doesn’t make me a bad person. I am learning to admit when I need help and when I just need a hug. I am learning that life is a series of ebbs and flows and it’s my turn to lean on those around me even though I always used to pride myself on being the person everyone else could count on.
I am learning that allowing myself to feel weak is actually the strongest thing I can do.

More than anything, I am learning that it’s imperative to allow myself to unapologetically feel every single thing my heart is telling me I need to feel. Sometimes it’s fear, sometimes it’s sadness, sometimes I still believe my dad is going to walk in the door with a giant smile on his face and tell me he would never really leave me.
Sometimes it’s anger in realizing he did.
Other times, it’s finding hope in feathers and whispers and perfectly timed dreams reminding me that he is never gone, just around the corner.

The only way to make sense of losing someone is to whole-heartedly accept the fact that it will never really make sense at all. The only way to get through it is to get through it.

That’s my advice.

There isn’t a magic recipe or fool-proof plan or outlined guide with the steps we need to make it out.
The only way out is in.

So let yourself in. Let yourself feel it all. Hold the people who love you close and hold them even closer in the moments all you want to do is push them away. Don’t feel bad when you talk about your lost loved ones like they are still here, because they are. They will always be with you and within you and around the corner no matter where you are headed. Lean on those around you, but don’t forget to remember how strong you are alone. You have been to hell and back, and look at you, you’re still standing.
Sometimes your knees are shaky and sometimes taking that first step forward feels like too much,
but you are standing and that is all that matters.

I remember feeling so frustrated when the world kept spinning after my dad passed away.
I wanted to scream at people in the grocery store for buying eggs and bread as though nothing happened.

But that’s the thing about life.
It goes on even in the moments it feels like it shouldn’t.

It’s kind of beautiful and kind of tragic, and completely confusing all at the same time.

The only way out is in.

So let yourself in.

 

 

for Emily.
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