Yesterday was the fifth "anniversary" of the day I found out my sister was never coming back. She went missing (and was killed ) on June 2, of 2007. But for 4 agonizing days, we didn't know if she was dead or alive. We had no clue where she was and no idea why anyone would take her.
During those four days, I slept very little, and probably would have eaten even less if I didn't have friends forcing me to eat something. I have a distinct memory of one of my close friends making me slather a bagel with cream cheese and not letting me get up until it was all gone. Something, that at the time I resented, but now I see she was looking out for me when I couldn't.
I was constantly moving, trying to keep focused on finding Kelsey and not thinking about any negative outcomes. I walked neighborhoods passing out "Missing Person" fliers, did interviews for local and national news stations, threw energy into making sure Kelsey's friends were holding up, and tried not to fall to pieces myself. And then it happened, my parents called and told us to come home.
I don't remember words being said or how I was told. I remember being in the driveway of my parents' house and collapsing on the ground when I heard she was dead. I screamed and literally crumpled up on the concrete. My amazing husband (fiance at the time) carried me inside the house and I'm fairly certain I just went numb after that. I didn't want people touching me, didn't want people telling me it would be okay, and I didn't want to feel anything at all. It was just too hard.
I still have days were I just want to be numb, and not think about Kelsey. It's easier to just forget what happened and make out like she's at school or something. Until, all the college kids are home for the summer, and she's not. And then it strikes you again.
The funny thing about grief is that it never goes away. It changes and grows with you, and those five stages? Yeah they exist but it's not like you experience them all and then boom, the grieving process is done. There isn't any set way to grieve. Having 5 stages to "go through" may help you understand some emotions you're having, but by no means is it a "how-to" on how to get through a loss. And you don't always experience them one at a time. Sometimes I'm hit with a big dose of anger and depression at the same time. The truth is grief is more like a wave. Some days it comes rushing in and pulls your feet out from under you, and other days it recedes back. It's unpredictable and sometimes, the little ripples in the water turn out to be big swells you weren't expecting.
So for anyone out there who may be experiencing a loss, you aren't alone. Feel what you feel and know that even if you think no one in the world can understand how you feel and you must be certifiably crazy, you're not!