I have lost a friend today. And now where there used to be love, and friendship, and laughter, and tears, and joy… there is now a big empty hole. What the #($%*&$# do I do now? I feel lost, hopeless, helpless, scared, sad and lonely. What do I do?

The Answer: feel

Feel the pain. Feel the loss. Feel the emptiness. Feel the sadness. Feel the anger.

When we experience a loss, we are first in shock, and we go through the motion of just getting through the day, one day at a time. We breathe in, and we breathe out. And that is about all we have the energy to do. We find comfort in our loved ones who share the same pain. We reminisce, we laugh, we cry. We may even have enough energy to support those that have a bigger hole than ours, all those that are left behind to mourn a loving soul that has now moved on.

The pain is unbearable. It hurts. We cry. We are angry. We want answers. And we cry some more. We push so hard to get past the pain, cover it up, ignore it, get back on track with our daily lives and pretend we are ok. Why? Who says we have to be ok?

There is a reason to feel every bit of emotion you have – the ups and downs as they come. You are human. You were created to feel fear, pain, sadness, anger, loneliness, and grief, overwhelm. We are blessed with these emotions so that we can really experience the impact this person has had on our lives. She is gone. How do we move forward? Before you move forward….

Be still.

It is ok to be angry… you lost a friend

It is ok to be sad…she has left three children behind

It is ok to be lonely…who will you call for that listening ear

It is ok to be scared… there is a heart broken man without his soulmate

The human experience is not easy, was never meant to be pain free. We have the resources to make it to the other side of the pain. But we must not cut ourselves short, and deprive ourselves of feeling the loss. Grief has so many emotions, like riding a roller coaster – when you think you made it over that big hill, another one is just around the corner. Be still and be in the moment and feel it. Allow your emotions to guide you to calmness.

Kris Carr, of Crazy Sexy Miracles talks about sitting by the river of your emotions. Imagine sitting by the river and seeing and feeling these emotions flow through you and by you. Don’t dive in, don’t be tossed around by the current, struggling for a breath. But allow these emotions to move through you – cry, weep, mourn, be angry, laugh. And it will pass. Be still in it and really feel it. It takes a lot of courage to feel pain and loss and all the range of emotions that comes with that. You have the strength, you can do it. Honor yourself, honor the sweet soul that has moved on. Be kind with yourself and be gentle. The pain will not last forever, allow yourself to move through it and not get stuck in it. Because one day, the blessing of having that sweet soul in your life, for even just a short time, will fill that hole in your heart, keeping her alive in the smiles of her children, and the hugs between friends.

Honor your friend, honor yourself, honor your feelings.

In memory of Gretchen Elizabeth Chirco 

July 24, 1974 – February 29, 2016