Project Purple is excited to have guest blogger Stephanie Zavolas back for a 2nd post. Stephanie graduated from Pace University in May 2018 with a bachelors in psychology. She was very active during her years in undergrad, a few examples were becoming president of her sorority, and top fundraiser of Relay For Life for 3 consecutive years. She spoke in honor of her late Mother at a Relay for Life event which marked the importance her story had on those around us. Stephanie enjoys writing and believes that even if you may be “broken” you will still be able to succeed. She has a blog, Broken Crayons Still Color, which she continues to write about how to keep going when you lose a loved one. Stephanie knows that feeling all too well, she lost two aunts and a grandmother to cancer, and her mother to pancreatic cancer. But her positive spirit, keep going energy, and ability to write about it all, is inspiring and she hopes to inspire those who have been through a similar situation as her. “You might be broken, but you will Still Color, because Broken Crayons color, too.”
Dealing with death is a process- a process that may very well continue until later years in life, and one that is constantly evolving. Every single person deals with death differently. By knowing this, it helps you validate your ways and thoughts and not have to second guess your feelings and actions. This is your personal journey- this is your way on how to move forward. But, is there such a thing?
I believe that we can move on from such a devastation, but there is no guideline on how to do so. I will be the first person to tell you that every single person who has to go through this grieving journey will have to understand that everyone does this differently. Some may be able to move forward quickly, some may stay in a stand-still for a little while, it all depends. What I can tell you to help move forward are different ways to continue the remembrance of that loved one, while simultaneously allowing yourself to come back to a better place and be able to remember the good times.
Open up and talk about it, but only when you are ready. This is so important. Being able to talk about a traumatic situation you have been through (losing a loved one) means that you have accepted the fact that it has occurred in your life and you are willing to share your experience with others. This can help you move forward by sharing your emotions out loud- being able to listen to your own thoughts will help you come to a realization of the situation and allowing yourself to be vulnerable.
Cherish the memories. I mean, really cherish these memories. When a holiday comes and you remember a certain story about that loved one- try and tell that story to other family and friends during the holiday. It allows other people to feel your love and strength with the ability of you being able to reminisce the good times, even if in the moment that loved one is not present. But, being able to bring up an old story to allow their missing presence have meaning.
Give yourself time to heal. This is everything. There is no magical, invisible wall clock that is ticking, or pressuring you to “get over it.” There is not a person who is “in charge” of your grieving stages. You are allowed to feel angry, confused, and sad whenever you need too.
You are allowed to take as much time as you need to heal. There is no “normal” to get back too. I think this is the hardest concept to grasp. Sometimes we don’t know how to bounce back, and when we do, how do we move forward? You move forward by coming to terms with your grief and knowing that it is okay not to be okay. It’s okay to have a moment of sadness, anger, and more. But it’s also okay for you to enjoy life, smile, and to continue on. Moving on does not mean forgetting, it means you are strong enough to carry the memories with you into each and every new day. Moving forward means you are strong enough to remember the past to help create a happier future. Remember that the decision to start the healing process and moving forward with life is entirely up to you. When you are ready- get out there and take a chance on yourself to find peace- you will be able to find peace past the pain.