In the Summer of 2021, my best friend died. To say ‘best friend’ doesn’t even do it justice – he was beyond that. I can’t even bother thinking of the words to better describe him, it would be futile. What I do know is that the pain I’ve experienced in moments of extreme grief only remind me of just how necessary he was in my everyday life. Sometimes I wonder if I’m mourning for his loss or mine. Because when he died, I lost someone who has shared my story for longer than any other; he’s seen me through the highs and lows and all that was in between. We were always on the other end of the line for each other, at any time of day or night. I mourn for a loss of my own story, and the validation his kinship afforded me. What I’ve now come to realize is that the people in our life are pieces to our history and in losing that loved one, we may feel that we lost a significant piece of ourselves.
He was known for often saying, “everything is possible”. While he was alive I would brush it off when he said it, likely trying to tease him; now I wish I hadn’t. After he died, everyone around me was quoting it and I found myself getting annoyed, then angry. When I stopped for a moment, I realized I was REALLY angry! But I was directing my anger in the wrong place… maybe I was trying to find a place for blame. When I started to look at my anger, I was shocked at intense it had grown. I remind myself, it’s just moments. All I need to focus on is getting through now. For someone who has had to work on anger, I know how tempting it can feel. But in my grief, I try to remember that no matter how hard a moment gets. If I lean into the belief that “everything is possible”, I give myself enough space to pry away from the anger and move just an inch closer to true acceptance. The progress is slow, but it’s moving.
I have always struggled with grief, both professionally and personally. As a therapist, I worry I don’t have the right questions to ask or the perfect words to soothe my heartbroken client.
Now I’m seeing that it’s ok to not have the words, that sometimes there aren’t any, and the only way to assuage any loss is to hear the stories of those who grieve. Because that’s what’s been lost, a piece of their story, and one way we can stay close to those we love and lost, is to recall their story – never losing our shared narrative.
If there’s one thing that my grief is challenging, is my belief that vulnerability is a strength – because I don’t always feel so strong. Part of my interest in putting these thoughts to words is to lean into my vulnerability and hope others will learn to do the same. It’s a part of our never-ending quest for our meaning and purpose; to feel and move through. Truthfully, it’s cathartic and heart-wrenching. Both of those things can exist together… and both feel empowering. I hope we can all learn to gravitate towards the power of our stories and embrace the vulnerability of our losses. Because like my friend always said, “everything is possible”.
Samantha Camerino (she/her) is the owner of Nomad Therapy Services. She uses a “Person in Environment” approach, addressing not just the individual, but also exploring the environmental, societal and historical components that may be impacting self-growth. She has nearly a decade of experience working with persons struggling with an array of challenges such as depression, anxiety, anger, low self-esteem, trauma, et. al. Currently, Samantha conducts sessions in the office or online, and she also encourages ‘walk & talks’ and meeting in outdoor settings. If you are interested in learning more about the Nomad approach, visit her website at www.nomadtherapyservices.com or email her at email@example.com.