I got a call last week that one of my best friends from college had passed away in the night. As my heart sank and my eyes welled up with tears, it seemed like the world stopped for those brief moments as it sank in. This person was someone I was very close with in college and spent a lot of time with in deep conversations, late night escapades and hilarious adventures.
We always kept in touch over the years here and there with new phone numbers, happenings and random, funny messages. You just never think that the last time you speak to someone will truly be the last.
Making the subsequent phone calls to let others know was heartbreaking. It has been a tough time for our group of friends and today our dear friend was laid to rest. As I’ve been working through processing everything, I realized how hard it is to lose a friend and started to pay attention to how I was handling it all. I couldn’t help but think that this happens every single day as people pass away, so I know this is something that affects everyone at some point in their lives.
There is no answer or real solution to the grieving process and everyone goes through it in their own way. However, there are a few things I’ve noticed that are helping me deal with this loss and teaching me how to deal with losing a friend.
Remember the little things about them.
As the moment comes when you realize you won’t be able to make new memories with someone, your mind automatically starts remembering bits and pieces of your time together. I actually wrote about why the little things matter not that long ago and how ironic that this rang so true in this situation. The things I remember about my friend were the way he laughed, how he lit up a room with his humor, his crazy intelligence that would only come out to those he was close with and how he made everyone feel important and safe. Comfort can be found in recalling little things you will take with you and cherish forever as little treasures of their mark on your heart.
Never take for granted the people in your life that have made an impact on you.
As cliché as it sounds, when you lose someone it makes you take a long, hard look at everyone in your life. It makes you rethink how you stay in touch with people and gives you a little gut check that causes you to be more thankful, say I love you a little more and to reach out to people more often to say hello or just to check on them. It reminds you not to take people in your life for granted, that life is so short and to relish in your time with those who are important to you because we never get that time back.
Allow it to bring you closer to others.
What amazed me and made my heart swell was how we all came together in this time. All of us, some we had not talked with since college, were connecting and reuniting once again. Old friends were reminiscing about “that one time” and we all were checking on each other. I got messages and calls from people all over that wanted to check on me, understand what happened and send their condolences. During such a sad time this sense of deeper connection with others and the community we formed was something that made me realize how special it is to have these bonds. I’ve grown closer to a few people during this tragic event and for that I can only be thankful.
Go out and be your best. They can’t do it, so you do it for them.
When I realized I was booked to speak the same day as the funeral, I was very upset at first. But what I had to remind myself of was that this person in particular would want me to keep shining my light and doing this work. One of the last messages I ever got from him was:
“C2thamothereffingB!!! I am VERY impressed your articles! Good stuff Carly!! Keep it up!”
I know for sure he would have wanted me to tear it up in his honor and that is exactly what I intend to do. What I’m reminded of is how important it is to let losing someone fuel you to go after your dreams and to do it NOW. It’s sad that loss is sometimes our greatest motivator to do better. I feel like it is even more so my duty to really make an impact, not just for me, but for my friend who won’t be able to leave more of his legacy behind. I will always feel like he is watching over me and cheering me on.
Turn to God.
Sometimes God uses death to bring us to our knees and to bring us closer to him when we feel we have nowhere to turn to be consoled. Let it humble you to ask for help. Grieving is hard work and it affects us all on a soul level. Prayer and turning to God is sometimes the only comfort we can find. Although loss can make peace and acceptance seem so far off, I know that He truly is the only real way to find it. Keep turning to God all the days of your life whether you’re in search of peace or not, He will show you answers you can’t find anywhere else.
If you have lost a friend or loved one, my heart goes out to you. I know it is not an easy part of life and we all face this grim reality at some point. Let’s all stick together and remember that although it is hard to move forward from losing a friend, we must go forward.
We have to preserve our hope and our light and let it shine brighter than ever before knowing that one day our time will come also. Let’s do what we can with what we have while we can. Let’s keep our hope alive so that when our own time comes, we will have left behind all the dreams and things we wanted people to remember us by with love, hope and grace. May you rest in peace Mariotti knowing that you’ll always be missed and never forgotten. Amen.