Joy | Grief | Action | Change

It’s only been two “Holiday seasons” since Bug passed, almost 3. It seems so much longer than that but, yet still not real. It’s so hard to explain.

To be honest, if someone would have told me then, what was going to happen, and that I’d still be here, I wouldn’t have believed them.

I’ve told you about the Jayme Closs discussion I had at work with my co-workers over lunch. A convo that started in October 18′ when she went missing, and again in January 19′ when she was found.

I would of called it a semi “casual conversation” about the local news. Because it doesn’t happen to me. Its a friend, of a friend, of a friend.

“If anything ever happened to Aria, someone better find me quick. I swear I’ll end it, I’ll have no reason to live. I can’t live without her”

I also told you that the co-worker I had that “unimageable” conversation with, called our head supervisor to make sure I was not alone when he heard the news about Aria.

Somedays I can’t imagine how I’m still here. When I said what I said at work on that January afternoon, I meant it with every fiber of my being……..

How could I live without her?

A couple months ago, I randomly came across a Grey’s Anatomy episode I had seen many times before. It’s the one where Derek comes back from Washington after leaving his family in Seattle. There is a specific conversation that resonated so intensely with me. I knew I wanted to write about it, I just didn’t know what to say until now.

In the episode, he tells Meredith,

“You……… you’re everything. I love you and I’m not going to stop loving you. Meredith, I can’t live without you. I don’t want to live without you, and I am going to do everything in my power to prove it.”

She pauses….. (I will come back to this)

I started to think how many times people say things like that. To a spouse, child, significant other, parent, sibling, family member, or friend.

I know I told Bug that.

Looking back, that’s a hell of a lot of pressure on the person “responsible” for keeping another alive. Oh my goodness, the love songs I grew up singing, that’s how we expressed our love.

Mariah Carey- Without you. Whitney Houston- I Have Nothing. Toni Braxton- Breathe Again. PM Dawn- Id Die Without You. LeAnn Rhimes- How do I live Without You and I Need You.

This is a very small sample. This type of message is everywhere, in music, in show’s, in movies, in conversations with the people we love everyday.

So, what happens if you do lose the person that you “can’t” live without?

The part about that Grey’s Anatomy episode that hit me so hard was her response,

” I can live without you but, I don’t want to. I don’t ever want to.”

That line hit me so hard…………..

With that realization comes so much shame. I feel shameful that I am still living. I feel shame to laugh, be happy, even feel shame just being content. I believe that is part of the reason I am so angry a lot of the time.

I am able to justify my anger, yet, I can’t justify my happiness, even if it’s for a moment. Because believe me the shame creeps up quicker in me before you could judge me for it.

I’ve been thinking about what has kept me alive?

Of course, because of how she died, I refuse to die the same way. In my mind, that means I would be taking the attention off of her and putting it on me. I won’t do that.

Also, How can I honor her? Who is going to fight for her? Who is going to tell her story, speak her truth, and spread her joy, if I don’t?

When I chose to be her mom, I chose to be her mom until the end of TIME. I am still her mother and I am PROUD. Nothing will change that.

In my experience these last 2, almost 3 years, there are 3 things I think, every person needs to continue to live a prosperous and meaningful life. Regardless of who you lose. It doesn’t mean sometimes you aren’t going to scream from the pain, or emotionally and physically break down at any moment. That you’re going to vomit, hit, throw shit, punch, or shit on people who are happy, and want to numb the pain. I don’t think that will ever go away, but, these are the 3 things that truly keep us alive….

Faith- Faith is huge for me. My belief in The Afterlife has been the Grace that has gotten me through each day. I believe in my heart I will see my baby girl again. My faith has given me peace. However, I am not pushing religious beliefs on anyone. Contrary to popular belief, by definition alone, Faith means ” a complete trust or confidence in someone or something.” So even if you have full confidence or belief in no religious or spiritual affiliation, its still a form of Faith.

Hope- People who experience extreme grief need to feel a reason to continue. Something to be excited for. Whether its a new mission, family, job, traveling or new experiences. You have to have a reason to want to wake up in the morning. For me, which I believe is no coincidence, I was made aware of a familial relationship a month after Aria passed. The idea of getting to know this person gave me hope and a reason to fight. Also, Shout Out Loud!! I did a Podcast this last Sunday night. I looked at Laura Dizon and I said, “this organization gave me a reason to fight against the suicide epidemic”. SOL gave me hope for change.

Support- Support comes in different ways. It doesn’t always come from your family or your best friends. But it comes from people in your corner. People who believe what you are doing is important. People that see your grief and acknowledge it. Also, they see your drive and believe it deserves validation. It has taken me a long time to realize, the people who I expected the most amount of support from, need support too. They can’t give it to me the way I had hoped because they need the same amount of support as I do.

I am a different person. I am not the same Brittani. I NEVER WILL BE.

I lost the person I loved more than anyone in the world and even so……..

Aria Joy Burch Senser, I can live without you but, I really really really really don’t want to… and wish I didn’t have to.

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