Staying healthy while grieving the loss of a loved one or friend is not an easy task.
I keep waiting for a text from my brother to tell me to have a good run or how crazy I am for waking up early when I don’t “have” to.
The text never comes.
We were friends as well as siblings. This friendship was ripped out of my life one ordinary Thursday morning while I was in spin class.
Little did I know that when I glanced at the clock around 7:11 a.m. to gauge how much longer my legs had to endure the class that my baby brother was ending his life on this earth. I came home to missed calls from family and the nightmare began.
He was 35, a dad of two, with a giving heart and smile that left an impression on most people he met. Two tours in Afghanistan were part of his service in the Army and he suffered from combat PTSD and many of the horrible things that often accompany it after returning home.
He battled for 5 years.
Isn’t he beautiful?
Although we kept hearing of more and more veterans committing suicide we didn’t think it would actually happen to our family.
I don’t think anyone really does.
Death of a loved one or friend affects our entire life including our health. There’s something even more devastating (if that’s even possible) when it’s suicide.
Feelings of guilt, should I could I have done more, and regret flood your mind all at once and begin to invade your brain non-stop from all angles.
I was in a haze and only by God’s strength and grace was I able to help my sister in law with preparations.
I’d spend the day planning for the memorial service and communicating with the military then collapse onto my bed and cry myself to sleep until I woke up crying the next morning.
Working out was the LAST thing on my mind. I could barely function as a wife, mom, daughter, and sister and leaned on my husband a lot during those first few weeks.
I finally began walking in my neighborhood just to get out of the house and experience fresh air again. I wasn’t as consistent as I was before but worked my way back into a routine and eventually began going back to the gym.
My girls and I went for walks during Spring Break and we spent the week at home being together.
I still feel anxiety arise every Thursday morning as I go to spin class and especially as 7:00 a.m. approaches. My eyes are affixed on the clock until 7:11 passes only to be left an emotional wreck as my body and mind are pushed to the max.
Crazy how grief changes with a smell, sound, feel, song, or even a particular time.
An experience associates with a memory which leads to another memory and next thing you know you’re in tears, laughing or both.
I encourage you to take care of yourself and stay healthy even after the death of a loved one or friend.
Lean on God, family, and friends and allow them to help.
You won’t feel like doing anything but it will help you mentally and emotionally during this time.
I share some things that have helped me in this post: 5 Ways to Stay Healthy After the Loss of a Loved One
As Memorial Day approaches our family’s hearts are even heavier as the shock slowly fades and reality sinks its heartless teeth into our skin more and more and we realize this is our life now.
My brother is no longer with us this side of heaven.
Remember our veterans and honor their memory This Memorial Day. The sacrifice doesn’t end when they return home from war. The impact on families of both living veterans and those who have died can never be measured.
I’m so thankful to my brother AND my dad for sacrificing so much of their life for us.
If you know a veteran who is in need of assistance, please tell them about Camp Hope. My brother was looking into this place after being told by a friend. www.ptsdusa.org
They provide interim housing for our Wounded Warriors, veterans, and their families suffering from combat PTSD.
How do you cope and stay healthy after losing a loved one or friend? Sharing and starting the hard conversations is what helps others. Share you story because someone needs to hear it.