Dealing With Death: One Year Later

During the redesign of LivLuna earlier this year, I had the task of deciding which posts would appear on the new LivLuna and which ones would not. When it came to my short series about dealing with my brother’s very unexpected death at the age of 30 last October, I opted not to move them. I thought they were too sad; that they would prevent me from moving on if they stayed up.



Now I wish I had kept them. This past year has been a mess. Although the official anniversary isn’t for another two weeks, it’s close enough. I had always told myself that I would write a “one year later” piece, where I’d hoped that I would be enlightened, changed for the better, so on and so forth. I’m not quite there yet, especially with the events that followed Matty’s passing–Superstorm Sandy (where I was in the middle of nowhere pretty much by myself,) my grandfather having a health scare, my grandmother passing away, my brother’s dog having to be put down, my dad being in the hospital for two weeks with bacterial pneumonia and not being able to go back to work for four months, my cousin losing his house in a freak lightning storm, all on top of the day to day. However, losing Matty is definitely at the top of our lists. That is the one we’re having the most trouble recovering from.




I was (and still am) determined that I was going to not let the sadness take over. He wouldn’t have wanted that, not wanted the family to fall apart because of his action. So I tried everything to help speed up the grief process–anti-depressants (never again) throwing myself into work, throwing myself into friendships, drinking, weekend getaways, smoking pot, online dating, hooking up, staying out all hours of the night, running for two hours a day, shopping to the point where I had -97¢ in my bank account. Nothing helped–it either blew up in my face completely, or else was a quick fix. The only thing that can help is time, and what sucks is that there is no definitive time frame for grief. You can’t say, “well, in four months, I’ll be here, in six months I’ll be there,” You just have to wait and see, really, and it can be hard. And I want to stress, that this is not about getting over the person–this about getting over the sadness, the anger you have about their passing.



Matty and his beloved Chuckie, 2010.



There have been some changes–after re-watching The Avengers in November (the last movie I saw with Matty,) and having a panic attack, I vowed never to see a comic book movie ever again as they were his favorite. In August, I got asked on a date to see The Wolverine. I agreed, and then got nervous–this wasn’t like being at a friend’s house, this in a theater with a stranger who could potentially be romantically interested in me. I wasn’t ready to be that vulnerable if I had a meltdown like I did in November, especially in a public setting. However, I couldn’t hide from the movies, especially one that I wanted to see. So, I kept the date, and…nothing happened. I was fine. I loved the movie, and knew he would have loved it too. Although that’s a small example, it is still a big step, and it makes me feel human, that things are going to be okay.



I would like to believe that once the anniversary passes, when the majority of firsts will have passed, we’ll be able to really move on. Right now, we’re all in a weird place. I feel like I’m reliving certain grieving points from the year at warp speed. But what is really going to happen on October 8th? As much as I think he would have loved it, I don’t think zombie Matty is going to show up at the house, or the earth is going to swallow us whole. Yet, we’re all feeling this anxiety, like something big is going to happen, but we’re not quite sure what.



I wish I could offer more enlightenment, but honestly, the only thing I can say is that you have to let time be your friend.You are the only one who can manage your grief, and if other people don’t like it, too bad. As for things to help you move on, they’re distractions, they’re not real solutions. Distractions can be good, they’re necessary–if it weren’t for work or my friends, I probably would be a hermit, hiding out in my room and smoking up all day. But that’s hiding, and you can’t do that. The deceased wouldn’t want you to.



And as for you, Matty, we love you very much and miss you every day. That will never, ever change, no matter how much time passes.

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