Recently I’ve grown to love every emotion I have and every feeling I feel, because they make me human. Even things like embarrassment, flaws, feeling ashamed… I don’t mind. I don’t feel embarrassed often because like I said, we are all human and every feeling or action is rooted in some part of my experience. If an emotion I feel comes from a place of jealousy or negativity, I recognize that my ego and I are not one and the same. People forget that they have egos and that they need to be checked, or they pretend to forget because of social rules… I’m not sure exactly. There’s no shame in having an ego, but I do accidentally pass judgment when people don’t manage theirs.

However, one feeling that I can’t seem to appreciate because it is so cruel is grief. It comes from a place of hurt, deep hurt that weighs on your chest like someone sitting there or a blanket that is much too warm for the season.

Recently, I learned that a girl just a few years younger than I am, from the town my parents live and where I am returning to this month, died of cancer. She had gone through treatment for almost a year, gotten clean scans and started returning to her normal life at college, when she got sick again and this time the disease was untreatable. I can’t stop thinking about it. This poor poor girl, who won’t get to live past 20 years old. Reading about her, she sounded like the girl you want to be your best friend. It is so wrong, so unnatural that her parents had to say goodbye to her so soon. I feel their pain in my whole heart, but I know I can only feel a tiny fraction of it, and I feel so sorry that they have to feel more than this. 

I feel like I know her younger sister, who looked up to her so much. I am a younger sister, and I always want to be. In my grief for her is fear for myself, which is selfish but I can’t help it. I wish I could hug her so hard she forgets for a second, and we could run so fast that she couldn’t think. I wish we could swim in the ocean together and the steady waves would lull her into feeling content, maybe not happy, but a sense of feeling at ease, and she wouldn’t feel bad for feeling it. 

I am so sad for this family. What I hope more than anything is that they communicate with each other even though they will grieve differently. That they will love harder instead of become harder. That they will be honest with every feeling they have, about everyone in their lives, and make sure everyone knows it. That they will tell each other what they need. I hope they can find the strength within themselves to accept something that has no reason and just is. That sounds so hard to me, and I admire them for even trying. I admire them for living, for breathing, for crying, for hugging, for every moment they have together. I am so sorry.

Returning to the ego, one difficult part of this is that there is nothing I can do. I don’t know this family and even if I did, there is nothing that could ever fix it. No returning to normal, just creating a new normal. I keep telling myself to move on and live my life, but then I get angry because they can’t, she can’t, and it seems so unfair. I know my being miserable won’t lessen their burden, but I wish it could. I would take some of it for them. I wish I could take an hour or a day of their grief so they could do things like eat or go shopping. I wish I could go to school for her younger sister and pay attention and somehow she would learn it all. But needing to be involved is my ego, our ego, needing to be tended to.  Can you believe that through all of this, our ego has the nerve to say “uh hey, that’s really awful, but how can I be involved?” I know I said I’m not embarrassed of my ego, but man, this is almost too bad to post on my blog. 

I guess all we can do is constantly remind ourselves how lucky we are: for our health, for each other, for the sky above us and earth below us, for laughing, for crying, for feeling embarrassed, for community, for strangers, for everything. Maybe one day we’ll feel grateful for grief too.