A Thought for Fellow Grievers: A Picture Says a 1000 Words

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They says a picture is worth a thousand words and as an obsessive photographer I have always agreed with that.  I have also always been a big fan of quotes in that I am constantly saving ones I see or writing them down from the books I read or posting them on my fridge or sharing them with my best friend, Lauren.  Since I lost Zach, my fiancé, I have either come across or been sent various pictures with quotes about grieving that have so strongly resonated with me that I now have an extensive collection of them saved in my phone or in my email.

I would like to share them here with you today because maybe you also have found yourself trapped in a similar journey with grief and you feel like me in that it gives you a small degree of comfort to know that other people are thinking and feeling the same way as you.  Maybe you can also look at a picture of someone who has experienced loss, recognize the raw emotion, and know exactly what they are feeling in that moment.

That’s the worst part about grief: to feel like you have lost your mind, that no one could ever feel the way you do, and that what you’re feeling isn’t normal.  Our grief stories might be different, our loss can have a completely different face, but grief is grief and we experience it together.  So maybe you have already seen some of these pictures or heard these quotes or maybe you won’t even get anything out of me sharing them, but I am doing this today because I need the same reminder that grief is shared by all….. even through the pure kindness of faceless online supporters.

These pictures depict, describe, define, and demonstrate grief whether it be through words or just a picture.  I hope you draw the same thing from them as I have.

From me to you,

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The First Year

Zach,

It is 4 a.m.  It is 4 a.m on October 9th, 2012.  I cannot believe it.  One year.

One year ago right this moment my life changed forever.  One year ago right this minute my phone rang and I got the worst news of my whole damn life.  One year ago exactly now you were taken from us way too soon.  One year ago the world lost one of the best men it would ever know.  We lost a son, a brother, a soul mate, a partner, a best friend, a teacher, a coach; so many people lost something that day and so many of us are hurting.  One year ago you left us and nothing has been the same since.

The concept of time has been utterly lost to me.  I should have a firmer grasp on it considering I have been writing about each passing month and essentially keeping track of the time in some way, but here we are.  A year?  My God.  I don’t know how any of us made it through it.  How did we get here?  It feels like it has been a simple blink of an eye and yet the calendar doesn’t lie.  It’s here. 365 days have somehow flashed by all of us and we are still blindly wandering and attempting to grasp at anything to keep us afloat.  One year later and we still can’t make sense of what life without you means.

They say when grieving to not make any big decisions in the first year.  They say that the “firsts” are always the most difficult.  Honestly?  I think that is a load of BS we all tell each other in an unintentional/subconscious attempt to put a time limit on grieving.  I know it is just one of those things said when no one really knows what to say, but what do people envision?  Crossing the finish line with a black-and-white checkered flag with people yelling “You made it!” and clapping as we cross over into a no grief zone?  Yes, the first year has passed but does that mean I am supposed to wake up tomorrow a lighter person, a less tormented person, a person returned to a happy reality?  It just isn’t possible.  Yesterday, today, tomorrow, and the days after that will still be severely lacking something.  You.  Without you nothing is better and there is still emptiness, sorrow, and pain.

I honestly don’t really know where to begin.  Zach, not a single day has gone by that my every thought isn’t with you.  Not one day has gone by that I have not wanted to pick up the phone and call you, heard a car door thinking it was you, or ached for you with every fiber of my being.  Not one millisecond of one single day has gone by where I haven’t missed you right down into the core of me.  The pain I feel lives with me like an unwelcome companion and it has not lessened in any way.

I still think of it as “us”.  Me and you.  Us.  Our love still feels as strong and ever-present.  My love for you has not diminished to the slightest degree and I still think of myself as yours.  I still say “we” and “our” without noticing that I do it until I see people cringe.  That might be crazy and a ridiculous thing to do, Zach but to me it is still “us”.  I don’t know any other way to be.  From the moment we met we were instantly “us” and I don’t know who I am without you.  I guess I’m just being “us” alone.

Zach, I’m at a loss.  I am lost and I don’t know what to do to make it better.  I don’t know what to say that could possibly honor your memory in any way right now.  I wrote about your headstone back in January when we went to have it designed but I am sharing the picture today for the first time as an attempt to commemorate the amazing life that you lived even if it was tragically short.

So I will close with this poem that I came across and while you were not a father, I don’t want the memories to stop, and I don’t want to say goodbye, I still love the beauty behind these words of wishing a loved one closer and the torture one feels when you can’t bring them back.  The torture I live with everyday.

I love you, Zachri Cecil Jones; yesterday, today, and forever.

I miss you.

“You were once my one companion,
You were all that mattered.
You were once a friend and father,
Then my world was shattered.

Wishing you were somehow here again,
Wishing you were somehow near.
Sometimes it seemed if I just dreamed,
Somehow you would be here.
Wishing I could hear your voice again,
Knowing that I never would
Dreaming of you won’t help me to do
All that you dreamed I could

Passing bells and sculpted angels
Cold and monumental
Seem for you the wrong companions
You were warm and gentle

Too many years fighting back tears
Why cant the past just die
Wishing you were somehow here again
Knowing we must say goodbye
Try to forgive
Teach me to live
Give me the strength to try
No more memories
No more silent tears
No more gazing across the wasted years

Help me say goodbye
Help me say goodbye”
~~ Charles Hart, The Phantom of the Opera