I’m learning to live with grief, tremendous, heart wrenching, soul hurting, bone crunching grief. 

Two months ago, I lost my best friend in a pure tragedy. She was taken from us so suddenly, that the world has felt slightly off balance since she has left us. In this period of time, grief has knocked on my front door, and I have let him in. 

My first few weeks of grieving consisted of pure operation. I was numb to the joy and beauty of the world. I felt unsafe, shattered and devastated. I did what I could both at work and at home finding ways to pull myself up. I’d push myself to go to a yoga class, where I wiped my tears in childs pose, and cried in savasana. I didn’t understand how the world around me continued to revolve. How people could actually be happy, and smile? That felt so foreign. So unfamiliar. 

As the days passed, I started to write letters to my dear friend. I found them cathartic and healing. I wrote to share my experience of grief, and wrote the inner workings of my subconscious. I knew why I wrote. I knew that when I wrote to her that her voice, and her guidance would appear bringing me solace and peace. As I reflected on the beautiful life she lived, I found that I was living among one of the most enlightened people. She never took anything too seriously, she always showed up, smiled, listened, and greeted you with a smile. Even from 1,800 miles away, you could hear the smile in her voice. 

As the two, almost three months have gone by since losing my best friend, I am finding myself being able to live with grief. I’m learning to accept the grief, and I know that life will be different from here on out. I’ve had days where grief hits in the middle of the grocery store, and have had to leave. Or, I hear a song on the radio that reminds me of her and my heart instantly becomes heavy. I’ve been looking at these experiences as little signs from her: she’s saying hello, and I know that she’s always with me. 

Processing grief is a never ending experience. I’ve found that besides writing her letters, leaning into my feelings and feeling them (truly feeling them) has been the biggest source of power. I recognize the feelings and accept them as they are. By doing so I am able to honor them, and give myself the space needed to process, whether through writing or meditation, crying or laughing. 

I have also been working with a grief counselor to help process. It has been immensely helpful and powerful. She asked, “what was her legacy?” a question I was truly unprepared for but had immediate answers. “She showed up, she listened, and she cared”, and by defining the legacy of my lost friend, I am able to embody these traits and honor her daily. 

I’m learning to find the good in grief. That life is too short to have a bad day, or to let one little instance of frustration ruin it for you. We are not promised tomorrow, and can inspire others by living in the present moment, and being true to our pure and authentic selves. Practice gratitude, be grateful for all of the good in your life. Enjoy each day, feel the sun on your skin, have that piece of chocolate, and live freely.