There are a lot of things people will say and do to guide you how to come to terms with the loss of a loved one. People will tell you about their past experiences, which feels good. People will have no idea what you’re going through but still try and help, which is nice. But in my opinion, the biggest step in coming to terms with loss is mourning with people who lost the same loved one as you.
Let me tell you a quick backstory. Valeria Catrambone was a star soccer player, best friend to hundreds of people and a wonderful sister and daughter. She was also one of my best friends growing up.
Valeria was diagnosed with a rare stage 4 cancer in her senior year of high school. Valeria started to fight for her life with all her friends and family by her side. She fought for three years…THREE YEARS Valeria had to live with this awful sickness. On Saturday, August 3, 2019, the strongest girl I have ever met in my life passed away due to the cancer spreading throughout her body.
Coming home for the summer and losing one of your childhood best friends is not easy in a multitude of ways. One of the biggest reasons was that a lot of us from my high school moved onto college and naturally made new friends.
I was quite nervous going to Valeria’s memorial, which consisted of a lantern lighting ceremony on the beach with food, drinks and laughter. I was nervous because the days leading up to her passing and her memorial, I felt quite alone. My friends from high school and I were all mourning separately up until that point because of the new lives we made. Coming together at the memorial made me feel less alone.
Coming to terms with the loss of a loved one, to me, has a lot to do with your mental state. Do not dwell on the regrets you might have had of not seeing them as much as you would have liked. You should feel satisfied with the fact that you had someone in your life that you loved. Forever remember the happy moments.
A version of this originally appeared in
The Teller November 2019 Issue #8
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