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It Doesn't Get Better, It Gets Different

Many of us have dealt with losing someone in our lifetime, and all of us will deal with it at one point or another. It’s always the same; well-wishers offer their apologies, a practice that I’ll never understand, and then tell you, “It will get better.”

I’m here to tell you that that’s a lie. It won’t get better, it will get different. When someone you love dies, they take a part of you with them, a piece of your heart. It’s unrealistic to think that things will eventually go back to the way that they were before. That’s not how loss or works. From that moment on, you are different. Life is different. Everything will be different, the world will be slightly tilted in a way that you haven’t experienced before.

That is completely normal.

The fact that life will be different doesn’t mean that life will be bad or that it couldn’t possibly be good again. Take my story…

When my little brother was just two years old, he went to the doctor’s office because he was having pains in his legs and couldn’t walk. The doctor assured my parents that he had the flu. Fast forward a bit and he's in the hospital. My parents are, of course, demanding to know what’s actually wrong with him.

He was then diagnosed with AML. Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.

Daniel was a strong-willed, deeply religious boy. He was always willing to push through the toughest of hurdles and was always convinced that God was on his side. This was proven to be a fact when he was four years old. He came down with a fever and it simply wouldn’t break. The doctors told my parents he wouldn’t make it through the night. Soon after that very comment, he proceeded to open his eyes, stand on his bed, and loudly say that "Jesus said [I'm] going to be fine".

Then, like nothing happened, he went back to sleep. The next morning, his fever was gone. He had so many brushes with death, walked the fine line of life so many times, it’s a wonder that he isn’t here today.

When he was six years old, however, the cancer got the best of him. He passed away.

I was eight years old at the time, such a young age to be exposed to the harder things in life. And I was never the same. You can ask my mom - she’s the biggest advocate for that statement. Before Daniel died, I was a free spirited, life-loving, fearless young girl. Afterwards, I was afraid of everything. I wouldn’t let my older brother go to school without me, I couldn’t be separated from him.

Things became different, as they should.

As years went by, I eventually started to deal with my grief. I met a nice guy when I was a freshman in high school (13 years old) and dated him all through high school and college. That crazy guy married me, scars and all. We have a very happy life together and I found that with him, it was okay to be a little broken, it was okay to be different than I was before.

It was okay to feel.

So, no, things will not get better. Things will never be the same, things will be different. Different can be so beautifully and wonderfully good, even if you can’t see it.

About the author: Kate is a writer, wife, mom of two pups and a full-time RVer. She has experienced loss and grief. Kate has found healing through her writing.