There’s no sugar coating death. No bright side in losing a loved one. However, learning how to grieve in a way that feels meaningful instead of drowning is something that helps me cope. While this particular cloud may not have a bright side, I’m a strong believer that silver linings can be found anywhere.
One of the hardest things about grief, to me, is that missing someone doesn’t go away. It doesn’t even get easier. The more time passes, the stronger I crave his presence. Every day that passes is another without him. Finding moments of warmth in memory, instead of pain, was a transition that had to come naturally. I experienced all of the five stages of grief before I was able to transform how I felt memories. To choose to smile instead of just cry. I remain sad we lost him, but happy we knew him.
I believe in connection after life. That our loved ones find ways to communicate with us from the other side. My brother’s way of doing that for me and my parents is through rainbows. The first family trip we took without him, we were presented the most vibrant double rainbow right outside our window. Father’s Day, Mother’s Day, anniversaries and other holidays or significant dates, we get excited about rain. “Look for Jeffrey, he’s coming today.” This past Thursday was the 3 year anniversary of his passing. I was feeling that weight heavily the weekend before. But Monday, I was consumed in the most incredible rainbow experience of my life. I had never seen anything like it. A halo in the mountains with a bullseye solid rainbow at the center that followed my silhouette for a mile. He didn’t just show up for me, he was letting me know he is with me every step. To know that Jeffrey can still be with me after life is a piece of the presence I crave. To be confident in connection prolonging life as we know it is a comfort that lifts my grief so I can carry it myself.
There should never be a day defaulted as a bad one. A tough one, sure. But tough gives the opportunity for resilience. I feel good when my strength is practiced. I feel pride when I overcome adversity. I turn tough days into strong ones. September 24th will always be a tough day for me. But, September 24th will also be the day I put in extra effort to have great moments. This day is defaulted as a good one, in honor of my brother. Because I am the decider of how I treat my days, and how they treat me in return.