Love is an interesting and complex phenomenon. Especially the loss of a loved one. It is absolutely astounding what the loss of a loved one can do to the human mind. Unexpected loss, in my opinion, is probably the most damaging type of loss. I lost my older brother, Julius, to a car accident 4 years ago this February. The strength of my love for my brother is so strong that when he died my grief not only paralyzed me, but it also fundamentally changed me. I was not who I was and I will never go back to being that Chloe again. The easiest example to explain is the way I thought about and understood numbers and patterns and how that changed. It became difficult to do simple math and to see and remember patterns in anything. I used to be pretty good at seeing unique patterns and remembering weird number patterns. But for some reason, when I lost my brother, I lost that as well. I attribute it to my loss of personal identity. Losing my big brother shattered not only my understanding of who I was, but also my understanding of life and how life was “supposed” to work. Even though I was already in my second semester of my college life and legally I was considered an adult, February 4, 2010 was the last day I was a child. On February 5, I started living the life of an adult, forced to accept the harsh, unrelenting, ugly realities of human life. I love my brother and I feel robbed of the chance to live a life with him. The amount of anger I felt because of that truth is unreal, I never thought I could be capable of that kind of rage. It consumed me for so long, controlling my every action. My anger manifested differently than most, probably because I internalize any emotion I feel is too overwhelming to cope with. I had little, to no, patience for anything, I hated people, I had no faith in them. I let insignificant and petty offenses bother me. They festered in me and hindered my growth as a person. This internalization of my anger and my unwillingness to confront my reality started affecting my relationships with my family and some of my friends as well. I hated what had become of me and my family. It was no longer the strong, supporting unit that I relied so heavily on my whole life. I was no longer the curious, cheery girl to be around. I had to escape. I had to get away from the person that I was becoming. I had to find out who I was and what I wanted my life to be about. So I left. I spent eight months in Germany. These eight months allowed me the growth that I needed. The distance from my family and relying solely on myself to grocery shop, cook my own food, clean up after myself, establish a support base of friends, and even having to communicate in a foreign language gave me a sense of worthiness and purpose. A concept that had been lacking in my life since I had lost my brother. I was able to re-realize how much I love my family and how unique they are. With this renewed perspective I was able to repair myself as well as the relationships in my life that had crumbled or began to decay. It allowed me to better understand adulthood and what that transition means. I gained an understanding of what I want out of my life and the beauty of life itself. After returning from my life in Germany the transition back to my life in America was difficult. I was a different person with new perspectives, desires and ambitions in life. Not everyone was willing to accept that change in me, including myself. But all became adjusted eventually. Since then I have been making more changes in my life, taking on ambitious and optimistic outlooks on life, my life. “I will be exceptional” and “I will make change” are my new mottoes and I have already made solid steps in that direction and I am proud of myself for that. However, this business of losing a loved one has resurfaced. My grandfather passed away a few days ago and now I feel the creeping, crippling hand of grief wrapping its hands around my spine ready and waiting to snap it. This is my last semester of my undergrad life. I refuse to let it break me. The days of immobilizing depression and anger or over and I will not let them back in. I promised my grandfather this and now I am promising myself this. I have to grieve the loss of my grandfather which means I will be depressed for a while. This last semester as an undergrad is going to be difficult, but what I have to take away from my journey thus far, is that difficult times are always going to be mixed in with life. I have to go through the motions of grief. I have to be sad for a while, but that is ok. It’s a part of life. If I am sad, it is only because I love my grandfather and my brother. I love and miss them both immensely, but life is not going to wait around for me until I finish grieving. So I have to grieve while I live.
I love you grandpa.