Lessons from a college course.

When I was in Mortuary School, I took this one grief class. During the first day, the professor told all of the students to take out a sheet of paper. She instructed us to flip it horizontally and draw a line. I was told to write the year of my birth at one end and the present year all the way down at the other.

Okay, cool. So we were making some sort of timeline.

My professor went on to explain that grief does not occur only when we lose someone we love in death. There are many factors that can cause us as humans to grieve. So she said to write down all of our major life events in which we experienced grief.

My first year was in 2002 when my grandpa died. Pretty standard, I thought.

My second year was in 2009, when my now husband and I broke up for a six month time period.

I wrote a couple more dates in my timeline, periodically sneaking a peak at one of my classmates and feeling relived that I did not have as many dates written down as they had.

That exercise taught me that life throws curve balls. Changes in relationships, jobs and life can cause deep emotions. So don’t let anyone tell you the pain your feeling is unjustified.

I have scars on my heart because of the experiences I have gone through. But I also have happy memories and positive experiences that have shaped me into the person I am today.

Life is hard and unfair. People can be cruel and mean. Words can cut you deeper than any knife.

But I fully believe that there is more good in the world than evil. We were given our hearts to show compassion and love. We can be understanding and supportive.

Your timeline may have many dates written on it, but those dates do not define you. All of the grief that you have gone through and that you will go though has made you into the person you are today. You are strong. You are beautiful and you got this.

I’ve learned to lean on those around me during these difficult times. And I’ve learned to put my faith in my God when all else fails. As I get older, I’ll write down more dates where I’ve experienced grief. The death of my dog, Bandit, is a more recent one. It’s only natural that there will be more to come as well.

But I am strong. I am beautiful and I got this. (Breathe.)