On Life and Death
There’s a saying in Spanish about life and death; “La vida se ha acabado muchas veces." It roughly translates to “the world has ended many times.” It’s a reminder that life is full of endings, but also beginnings.
Tarot cards and spirituality also say the same thing. When you happen to get the death card or the tower, it is always a reminder that yes, this is an ending and it may be painful, but something new will come from it.
It’s hard to try to accept that when the ending that you’re facing is that of a friend’s life. Over the past few hours, it has felt like a weird sort of haze has taken over. I scroll through my feed, and I see posts from everyone I know back home, wishing Javaun the best. Sending love and prayers to his family, shocked that yesterday morning had been the last they would see him- ever.
I wasn’t a close friend of his, but he was an important person to my sister. So, to see her reach deep into her Snapchat memories, pulling out old photos and videos of the crazy nights they shared in their small, close knit group of friends…It hurt. I knew the pain of losing a friend so kind, so wonderful, would hurt.
Our phone call last night was pretty much a whole hour of crying. She cried on the phone, asking for answers to questions I couldn’t answer myself. And when she was silently gathering her breath again, holding back tears, I would lose it.
He meant so much to her, to our family- we rarely had boys over, and yet, my mom loved Javaun’s friendly presence. She asked about him on the regular, sad to learn that over the past year, the friend group, him included, was too busy to come by again.
He was what we all aim to be in life for someone else; a wholesome, good person. A kind soul, someone who had nothing but good intentions for others. And it feels like life failed him.
But what I’ve learned through therapy and trying to cope with other feelings of sadness, despair and loss is that we will never get the answers we seek when it comes to questions like why it had to be him. We just don’t know. And at the time I had been struggling with these feelings, I felt my therapist was insensitive when she told me, it cannot be our business, our main focus, to try to argue and fight the pain away.
But I get it now, cradling the phone in my hands, tears falling as I hear my sister try to keep it together. In the exhaustion that is trying to piece together our feelings and get through this grief, it’s easy to get mad. At the world, at each other, at ourselves. We could be mad for years and never feel the peace of knowing that he is fine, he is ok now.
So, what’s next?
We heal. We try to move forward with as much love in our heart as possible. We remember him and hope that we can honor him in how we live our lives moving forward.
Most importantly, we push through, however long it may take us. Because the world ends many times and begins many more.
Things to Keep in Mind for the Grieving Process:
· There is no expectation of anything- set timeline, stages, ways to cope- when it comes to grieving.
· However you feel is a normal reaction to loss, so do not feel the need to hide or suppress feelings.
· Don’t feel bad if you are grieving differently from others. Not crying does not mean it does not affect you as much.
· Grief sometimes involves physical symptoms, like weight loss, fatigue and nausea.
· Understand that others may need more space to deal with their grief.
If you are a student looking for counseling, please look into Talkspace, as they are an online tool that can connect you to therapists that specialize in a wide range of trauma and emotional based counseling. Talkspace offers student discounts and can be a great way to get help if you do not have insurance that covers therapy.