“I’m a seasoned veteran when it comes to death and dying.”

This was a sentence that I uttered last week to my mother-in-law. It’s a sentence that when I read it back or even say it again, I feel a little ache on the inside.

People grieve in their own way, and in the age of social media I see it constantly. Be it a family member, friend or a former classmate…and even celebrity. There are those of us who are truly stricken by it, where we really don’t want to talk about it much or we just try to get through the day without having a breakdown. Then there are people who will throw the dramatics out there, claiming how close they were or how they’ll miss the deceased when they barely even called, visited, wrote, etc. That’s the part that gets to me, because there are people that are truly heartbroken over the loss and don’t want attention or a pat on the back for it. They just want their loved one back, they don’t want to have to make funeral arrangements or pack up their belongings. Marinate in that for a second, if you will.

And when it comes to celebrities, I can count on one hand how many celebrity deaths have truly upset me. Fingers left over.

I will remember where I was, what I was wearing, and exactly what I said when I got the phone call on Wednesday. It was already a bad day for me because it would have been Andy’s 40th birthday. Top it off with having a sick toddler at home, hoping to goodness he doesn’t throw up again. The second I heard my mother’s voice and her sobbing, I thought the worst thing happened. Then I thought the second worst thing happened. But what did happen was very unexpected and I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.

Days later, I still can’t. Sitting with my parents and aunt, talking about what food we’re going to serve at the repast and going through old pictures…still couldn’t wrap my head around it. Four hours at the funeral home, still can’t wrap my head around it. All I have said is, “This fucking sucks.” Because it does, for lack of better words and term.

I cried here and there days leading up to the wake. Not too badly, but I cried. I knew that eventually, the dam would break and it sure did. The second I walked into the funeral home and saw my brother, I lost it. I hugged him and just sobbed, then hugged his girlfriend and sobbed. I did well up until my Pastor spoke, then when my mom said something I felt that all too familiar break in my heart. This. Fucking. Sucks. I was feeling drained, after hours of hugging people and talking about the past few days, I just had nothing left. Then it was time to say our final goodbye and I wasn’t able to stop myself from crying. My husband held onto me as I knelt down and just let it all out. Repeating, “I’m going to miss you so much. I love you.”

I never got to say goodbye. A lot of us didn’t get to have that one last goodbye, get in that last dig or break chops. Our family took a hit on this one, and it’s going to be truly felt. I’m still unable to say I feel better, or that I’m ready to be among civilization and go back to work. I’ve been staying up late, moping around, binging Netflix shows. I know that this road of grief isn’t the easiest to travel on, but I’m going to do it anyway. I just am having a very hard time with this, even if I am ‘seasoned’. If you know me, you know that I still am not okay with the loss of my older brother and my grandmother…so none of this should be a surprise for anyone. But do you know who is surprised the most by how I’ve taken this? Me.

Rest easy, Uncle Tommy. You have no idea how bright of a spot in our lives you truly were.