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My sister died a year ago. Her death was sudden.

Wednesday evening we had a normal conversation over the phone. Sunday night she was admitted to the hospital. The news was not good but the doctor was (in hindsight overly) optimistic. I booked a last minute flight Monday morning. Monday afternoon, minutes before boarding, I got the call. She was gone. I said my final goodbyes over the phone right there, open and exposed in the Southwest airport terminal. No chance for a true goodbye.

In the days following her death I was shocked at how physical, how tangible grief is. The weight of it all making it difficult to breathe, difficult to eat, and impossible to sleep. The immense guilt and the would of, should of, could of’s lie as heavy as lead on your soul.

In the months after, the grief evolved but was always there. Is still there and I suspect always will be. Some days pass and a memory will cause a passing smile. And others that same memory will break your heart all over again. The missing piece of yourself that can never be replaced. All the moments that are stolen as tangible and clear as all the moments that we actually had.

Grief is a universal human experience. But is so so incredibly alienating too. Its hard, its messy, and its real. But it can be beautiful too. Its a reflection of the love you held and of the person you love. If you are suffering through grief I can only ask that you know you are not alone.

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