It’s been a year since the loss of my cousin. It’s crazy to think that it’s been this long, and even crazier to think it hasn’t been longer than that. I feel like I’ve been grieving forever. I can hardly remember what life was like before his passing. What does it feel like to be solely at peace? What does it mean to be happy & only happy? I can’t recall. I’m not saying I haven’t felt happiness in a whole year. Because I have. I’ve smiled. I’ve laughed. I’ve had some amazing moments & made some incredible memories. But there’s still a part of me that feels sadness even during those good times.
Losing my cousin has had a huge impact on me. I will never be the same person I was before May 12, 2019. It has changed the way I love, the way I act, the way I think, the decisions I make & overall, who I am. I believe some of the changes have made me a better person. Other changes, I’m still struggling with & working through every day.
Below, I’ve listed 10 of the biggest changes I’ve noticed in myself since losing my cousin.
Change #1: I never leave without saying “I love you”
You truly never know when it could be the last time.
Change #2: I do my best to never miss a family function
I was able to see my cousin at a family birthday celebration the day before he passed. A celebration I almost didn’t go to. I can’t imagine how much regret I would be feeling if I had decided against going. Especially, because there have been so many functions that I have missed. Family is so important & I think we sometimes tend to take our time with them for granted. Family comes first, everything else can wait.
Change #3: I cry more
I’ve always been an emotional person, but now even the littlest things can put me straight into my feelings. Sometimes, I find myself tearing up for no reason. Other times, I find myself purposely looking at pictures, listening to certain songs, or watching videos that I know will trigger memories & make me cry.
Change #4: I think about death… a lot
How am I going to die? When am I going to die? Who in my life will pass away next? These are all thoughts that take up space in my head more often than I’d like to admit.
Change #5: I have a lower tolerance for bullshit
If someone or something is disturbing my peace – they’ve got to go. Life’s too short to deal with people and/or things that don’t make you feel good.
Change #6: I question everything
Why do bad things happen to good people? Why MY cousin? Why MY family? Why God? Why? Where were You in all this? So many questions & no answers. Death has definitely tested my faith like no other.
Change #7: I’m more adventurous
My cousin was confident, fearless & always looking forward to his next adventure. He literally lived life like there was no tomorrow. Since his passing, I’ve tried to adopt some of those qualities into my life. So far, I’ve swum with dolphins, snorkeled, kayaked, drove a jetski & took my first business trip.
Change #8: I have trouble expressing myself
I’ve been having a really hard time with writing, something that used to come naturally to me. Half the time I feel like I don’t know what to write because my emotions are really out of whack. I could experience sadness, happiness, and anger all within 5 minutes of each other. My anxiety is through the roof & I honestly feel really crazy half the time.
Change #9: I grieve deeply with others
Before experiencing the loss of my cousin, I thought I understood pain. I thought I knew what heartbreak felt like. Before, whenever I would hear news of someone passing, I would feel sad for them & sympathize. Now, it feels a lot more personal… I feel their pain in my core.
Change #10: I’m more determined than ever to find my purpose
I truly believe that my cousin was living in his purpose. He achieved more than people who live to be twice & three times his age accomplish. I look at the life he lived & in such awe. He lived life unapologetically, followed his dreams, and made an impact on every single person he encountered. I aspire to be like that. Since his passing, I’ve been really trying to examine my own life, get to know myself, and become in tune with my life’s calling. I’m not there yet – but taking steps towards it every day.