It’s 9:30PM on January 9, 2021. My kids are asleep and the day is nearly over. I’m usually asleep by now, but I find myself unable to close my eyes. Today marks 10 years since my identical twin’s sudden and tragic passing.
As I lay here reflecting, I feel a multitude of emotions, as you can imagine.
Ten years. Ten. Years. I can’t believe it. And then again, I can. So much has happened. So much over these past ten years.
With unexplainable dread, I reflect on those first few hours as a twinless twin. I experienced things that no human being should ever have to experience in their lifetime. (And it should go without saying that so did my twin). To make it worse, I didn’t know that I was about to experience so, so much more that no one should ever have to (although I know millions of people do). The pain I was feeling then was just the beginning of a pain that will last a lifetime.
Today, as I reflect on the 10th anniversary, I think about the two words: ten years. It’s striking to me because it signifies a milestone.
In the first year of my grief journey, I asked my therapist (I had to go through a few to find the right fit : The “Wrong” Therapist) when things would “get better.” She never told me things would “get better,” but she did estimate that it would take me around ten years to “come to terms” with what has happened, to feel a sense of peace regarding my grief.
So. Do I think she was right?
I don’t think the answer is black and white (like most things in grief).
Grief and trauma change us forever. We will never be the same person. We couldn’t be. It’s not possible.
What is possible though is moving forward. Not moving on, but moving forward.
For those of you grieving, it’s possible to be happy again. It’s possible to live a fulfilling life after significant loss. It’s different than before, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fulfilling.
It takes a lot of work. It doesn’t come overnight. It’s not handed to you with a big bow on it. It doesn’t come one morning after 10 years have passed. It takes work, day in and day out. Year after year. And it’s not fair. None of it is, but that’s life, right?
What’s the secret?
I wish I knew, but I think it’s different for everyone.
For me, the biggest thing that has helped is getting outside of myself.
10 years ago, it was impossible for me to see outside of my own world. But today, I see outside of it and what I see is a world of beautiful, hurting people, who need to be heard.
And I want to listen.
What a beautiful post. Moving forward instead of moving on has helped me push through. You never move on. But you can always move forward.
I remember when your tragedy happened because I’m friends with the mom of one of your sorority sisters, Allie Autrey. It was unbelievable.
A friend just published a book, Living in Freedom (by Tina Elacqua, Ph.D). Her tragedy was her parents being murdered about 15 or so years ago. I’d love to send you a copy. It tells stories of several women who have dealt with trauma and how they found the road to freedom.