"BEYOND GRIEF -
Snapshots of Life after Loss"
by permission of Gracelyn Bateman & Melody Lomboy-Lowe
Published by Luna Peak Foundation, pages 40-41. Copyright 2021.
2 minute read
Andrea had a necklace engraved with her brother’s name, “Eric”
Andrea| 4 years | Brother
What were some of his quirks?
“Everyone remembered him for his belly laugh, straight from his stomach, just the funniest chuckle which is something I can still hear. He was known for being selfless, and always wanting to take care of everyone else before himself.”
Can you describe your grief journey?
“It’s something that you imagine will never happen to you, and so when it does, you don’t really know how to handle it. One of the hardest things for me is just understanding that it actually happened. I think it’s so easy for us to mentally block out that something like that would have ever occurred. My brother lived in New York and I didn’t see him more than twice a year after he went to college, so it was kind of easy to think that I might see him over the next holidays.”
What is one pro and one con of your loss?
“A pro is that I absolutely have become a better person. A lot of other friends have experienced close loss and I’ve been able to be a better friend to them. It’s not just because I can empathize - I think it’s that I know I don’t have to skirt around the subject. I can talk to them about it, I can ask them the right questions, I can be there for them in a way that is only possible through experiencing what I went through and to me that’s a huge pro. It helps me ground myself that even though this happened, there are better things that have come from it. A con is that I was very sensitive to other things going on in my environment, especially in the first year of experiencing the loss of my brother. It was very hard for me to empathize with individuals that were complaining about their job or talking to me about something that I perceived to be so insignificant or inconsequential to what I was experiencing. I ended up just comparing other situations to mine.”
What are three words to describe your grief journey?
“Fluctuating, lonely, but warm.”
What has shocked you about grief?
“I’m so used to always progressing, getting better at something, and completing things, and that’s not the case with grief. It is never over, but just being at peace with that reality has helped. I’m still acknowledging that it’s going to suck that he’s not there for so many milestones of my life and that I don’t get to see his life continue but I’m doing well and will carry on with this path.”
How do you celebrate his life?
“My brother loves gin and tonics so every year on his anniversary I make one to honor him. I will find myself either on a rooftop deck in San Francisco or out in the woods, and I celebrate his life by toasting to him.”