“Things end… That’s all.”
Lovers leave, families fade into the background, friends get busy or move away. Life will never give you all the things you want. Something will always go wrong. Someone will die of cancer, a child will be kidnapped, a girlfriend will lie to her boyfriend, a boyfriend will leave his girlfriend.
All these things flash through my head, and most day’s it feels like they drive me… They drive me straight into the psychiatric ward of a mental hospital. There is a mixtape that I got as a child that I’m certain many others have as well… And it’s been playing in my head ever since. It’s all of the negative things I’ve seen and been told in my life.
It’s the boyfriend you had who told you that you were too crazy to stay with. It’s the parents who told me they would have walked away… It’s the friends that you don’t hear from anymore, it’s the movies where the guy always gets the girl in the end, and the dreams we have at night where we’re standing in front of the entire school in our underwear… and we just wet ourselves.
“Everything ends, and it’s always sad.”
There’s that one piece of consolation that people give constantly… “Things will get better,” and literally as soon as the words are said I get super pissed. Because things aren’t better, and even though it’s always well intentioned, whenever someone tells me that ‘Things will get better,’ I have an intense urge to punch them in the throat… When things are rough, when it feels like the world is falling down around me, I don’t want to be told that things will get better. I want to hurt, and be sad, and recognize that everything kind of sucks right now. And when someone tries to pull me out of that, to tell me that things are going to get better, it feels like the things I’m feeling are suddenly invalid. It feels like they are trying to pull my feelings away, and that never ends well…
“But everything begins again too, and that’s always happy.”
Something has ended, and I’m sad about it. So let me be sad… Let us be sad. Let us grieve in our own time, and in our own way. Be supportive, but don’t invalidate, don’t tell us that things will get better, show us.
One of the best ways you can do that for me is to not treat me like a child. I can recognize when you’re in pain… So don’t try to hide it from me and make it seem like life is all sunshine and puppy dogs, I am well aware that it isn’t and would appreciate it if you would recognize that too, thank you very much.
I want you to be real with me, to hear the things that I’m saying and recognize that the way you want to help me through my grieving is not always the right one.
Thankfully, the grieving process is never permanent… Unless you make it. Life is a never-ending series of beginnings and endings, and some people handle this better than others. I have some friends who have been through some terrible things, had loved ones taken from them so early, and had futures crushed just as they were starting to look bright… And they’ve pulled through every time. There are others who have taken those endings as a sign that the universe is out to get them, that life is terrible and then you die…
Me? Well, I kind of fall in the middle of that. I’ve carried a pretty bleak outlook of what life is like for a very long time… But I’ve always carried hope, buried deep down where the world could never touch it. When life gets tough I’ve found myself to be a bitter person, and I would pull away from the people around me. I would be that friend that would mutter coldly in the corner, and tell you that life isn’t worth the pain of being with someone, and that it’s better to be alone.
But I’ve been proven wrong on that point time and time again. And it’s in times like that where I decide to pull that hope down off the shelf. Unpack it from the box that I store it in and try it on again. I never take it out when I’m around people… I’m too scared of losing it. But in those quiet moments I will slip it onto my finger, watch the way it glimmers in the light, and cry a little… Longing with every fiber of my being that this hope isn’t being wasted.
If you’re reading this, I pray that you have a hope like that… A hope that brings you comfort on those nights that no one can comfort you, when everything feels like it’s ending and the sun will never rise again. When your heart has been broken, and the world has stolen what you hold most dear, I wish that there is even just a sliver of hope that can light your way in the darkness.
If you don’t, then I would like to share my hope with you, it’s spent far too much time collecting dust in this old attic. And if there’s one thing that I’ve learned over the last few years it’s that a little hope is all it takes to make it through the worst that the world can throw at you… And the best hope you can have, is the hope that you share with others.