In a three year span I lost a lot. Two grandparents, a very dear friend, another childhood friend, my dad’s best friend killed himself, and on top of it all the family dog died. My world was shattering, listen to the news for a minute or so and you get the same feeling. It was all around me, everywhere I turned. I couldn’t talk to anyone about it either, try as they might they didn’t seem to get it. Those who have tried truly are a comfort to me but a shocking amount of people had no ability to relate. I could barely hold it together, I was on the verge of tears constantly.
I had to excuse myself from classes, from friends’ houses, and even from family meals seemingly suddenly so that I could cry in peace. I was a wreck.
It must have been about a year ago when I realized that what I was feeling wasn’t normal.
We were driving to visit a friend, this was before we had Ed and Eddy mind you, and I saw a dead squirrel on the side of the road. I burst into tears, we’re talking inconsolable sobs. It was as if that lifeless mangled squirrel represented all the deaths gone by and all the cars passing it by, us included, represented life continuing on unphased. I think that was the part that stung me most. All this shit just kept constantly tumbling forth and it felt like I was the only one who couldn’t stomach it. Like it was normal and only my reaction to it wasn’t.
Since then I have learned that my reaction has been the reaction of shock. The shocking truth that life isn’t a fairytale, we don’t get a Disney ending and that it’s okay. Not good but we can make it okay. We all go through hardships and struggles, different struggles but all equally real. It isn’t a contest either, some people can handle more and some people have invisible hardships. The important thing to remember is that we are not alone. There are approximately seven billion people in this world, seven BILLION people that ultimately just yearn for happiness and if we can just work towards a median it’s not out of reach. It won’t always be fun though, and certainly not easy.
May we keep in mind the words of Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little but together we can do so much.”