top of page

Everything is Different

It happened. It really happened. Everything is different.

You knew life was good, before. But didn’t know how happy you were or how lucky. You were living a quiet life of expectation while you waited for something even better to delight you.

Now? You’re a tangled mess. How could this happen? This is too big for one person, one family, one community, one world to endure. Why now?

You are raw with questions and emotions and fury. You are confused and overwhelmed and afraid. It feels like there is an invisible enemy out there. You would fight if you could. If it would change things back, you’d do...anything.

It’s too late to stop what’s happened. You’re left empty. Afraid. You’ve lost your trust and your will and your vision of what life was.

Take a deep breath. Your body needs air. Breathe. Again. Breathe. Again.

Stop the bleeding or you’ll lose too much of yourself to this. How do you stop the bleeding?

Apply a gentle pressure to the affected area. Hold still. Wrap the hurt tightly in gauze and love. Rock back and forth slowly. Don’t be afraid, the bleeding will stop. It always does. It might take some time.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Repeat.

You can no longer deny or ignore these changes. It’s uncomfortable, this being plucked from your comfort zone. You’re being squeezed into a life that’s missing an important piece. Be gentle with yourself. You will heal. I promise you this. You will heal.

You have fears. Of course you do. You have questions. That’s to be expected. You’re squeamish about taking any steps; the edge feels close.

Start with breathing. Slow breaths. Deep breaths. That’s all. Just breathe. This may be the only gift you give yourself all week, these deep breaths. You know you’re close to rock bottom when breathing is all you have.

Others may not understand how deeply you’re suffering. Stop explaining yourself to people who don’t understand. Refuse their time lines. Refuse their magic fixes. Ignore their prodding.

You’re breathing; that’s enough.

You know there will be many steps to crawling out of this hole, this crevice, this impossible pain.

Comfort yourself with this breath. Your breath.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Repeat.

One day you will have bigger goals. You will belong again. Your life will fit.

Right now life is growing you. It’s not fair, this forced march.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Repeat.

If only

This sticky mess is yours. You can’t wish it away. It charged in and soiled your trust. You’ve lost clarity, reason, logic.

Pain is heavy. And dark. And unforgiving. You can’t sleep. You can’t stay awake. You’re stuck living in a gray zone. You refuse this new blueprint of your life. Control. Alt. Delete.

If people tell you to snap out of it, you’ll snap at them. If someone suggests that this happened for a reason, you’ll claw their eyes out or cave into yourself so deeply that you’ll never be found.

People will say terrible things. Dumb things.

Their words don’t define this. They’re wrong. They had no idea that turmoil was coming. Nobody did. Sometimes things just happen. This isn’t a punishment or a curse. It’s a dizzying turn of events.

Accept that your life is different. You don’t have to agree with it. You don’t have to embrace it. Just find a place deep inside of yourself where you can whisper, “Things are different. I’m going to be okay. We’re all going to be okay.” These are your comfort words. Say them often to yourself. Say them to others who have their own agenda for your next steps.

Things are different. I’m going to be okay.

Nothing fits right and you’ve never felt so alone. People tell you to take your time to grieve, but you know that they’re getting bored and impatient as you try to mend your broken future.

Your tastes are frozen. Your plans are numb.

Now your only job is to be. Just be.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Repeat.

Your Job

Life has buoys, you will float. I promise. You will be able to breathe at all times.

Be gentle with yourself. You are on the right path. Wallowing is a process. Turn from anyone who doesn’t understand this. Your job is to breathe.

Breathe. Breathe some more. Again. Breathe. Again.

Why are you so afraid to fall apart? Go ahead, break wide open. You’re strong enough. Only strong people dare break. Let go. Scream. Wail. Curse.

Fall apart.

Sorrow is your blanket. The pain is maddening. Once you’re wide-broken, your emotions absorb light.

Take your hand and place it on your heart. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Repeat.

Letting go of life in the past tense is the hardest lesson there is. You loved deeply, now you must grieve deeply.

Stop trying to hide in the past or plan your future. Sit where you are. Burdened. In pain. A student of grief. Overwhelmed by sorrow.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Repeat.

You will be okay.

(Please share this Grief-Aid with people in need.)

(Holly Winter is a writer living in Kingston NY. Reach her on her website, Twitter, or by email via her site. Buy her memoir, "Unlikely Memories and Two Amnesias")

Living the Life of Holly

bottom of page