What would happen if I gave up the "glamorous" world of New York City fashion and took a year off to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life...?? Read on...
Thursday, June 21, 2012
(On April 18, 2012, we lost my younger brother Delmon Gabriel Aho to a sudden heart attack. Grieving is something I have never done before, not like this, and you are never prepared for death. I always felt blessed to have reached 30 and never have lost someone close to me. Little did I know that within a couple of years, that would all change. Sure, I had been to funerals, and some family members had passed, but all of them were much older and not that close to me. Losing my 29 year old brother was a shock, to say the least. I didn't know how to react, how to feel, what to do with myself, how to help my family. The two months since have felt like forever and a second, all at the same time. The fact of the matter is, grieving is very much a process, and you really do feel every single emotion on God's green Earth; sadness, anger, disappointment and a hundred other things, sometimes over a few days and sometimes in the space of a few hours. And though you are grieving, you also know that eventually, life goes on. Time does not stand still so you have to start doing the normal things you used to do. That said, the raw emotions sometimes pop up without a warning, usually while you're off thinking you're doing just fine.)
We still cry at the most inopportune times. At first it made sense; heaps of tears and pain tumbled out instead of my order at Starbucks. That was the first week. It took everything in me to say two sentences to the kind woman behind the counter, this stranger who told me with genuine care - I could see it in her eyes, "I'm sorry you're having such a bad day." If she only knew.
A few days ago it was while sharing a steak sandwich with my mom at the food court. It was because I felt so helpless in easing her pain. We had a good cry over the remnants of our meal while I felt people's eyes on us, wondering what was wrong. We didn't have too much of an appetite after that.
This past Tuesday it was while sitting on a plane, traveling to NY on a trip that's supposed to make me feel better. It more or less came out of nowhere. I half-heartedly hid my face from my seat mates as I tried to cry quietly and imagined my answer to their unasked question: "My brother died two months ago. We still cry at the most random of times."
And earlier today it was on the subway, triggered by the sight of a young boy seated next to his dad. It made me think of how awful it must be for a parent to lose a child, after all the hard work you put into raising them, and though I knew this before, in that moment it hit home. I barely kept it together on the train. By the time I got to street level I was practically hyperventilating trying to keep the tears inside. I scrapped my plans and made a beeline for the place I always used to go to sit in solitude when I was having a rough day. I was disappointed to find that there would be no solitude there today, but I bawled for almost two hours anyway while I prayed, thought, wished, talked and felt things I hadn't been allowing myself to feel for a while now.
It was hard, so hard, but I came away feeling better. I came away realizing that though people mourn differently, there are many things that everyone across the board feels regardless of how old they are, where they're from, under what traditions they were raised and no matter the circumstances of their loved one's death. The only way to heal is to productively and proactively help yourself, whatever that means for you. Feel your way around until you find what works. Though others can help, no one can do it for you, and ignoring your emotions is probably the worst thing you can do. We are all in this together and we will all be okay, just like Delmon is ok, looking down on us with so much more knowledge about why things happen than we have down here. We have to believe there is a bigger picture and a better plan, and until the day comes that we can accept what has transpired, I wish us all peace and comfort and consoled hearts.