What changed after he died was that I became more passionate about what I do because I know how short life is. He was fearless, and I make choices that I think he would have made. It's a way of keeping that part of him alive.
When I think about him now, I cry and I also smile. I focus on the beautiful memories we shared. Those are the ones that make me miss him so much.
My pain is about the life I would have lived with them if they were alive. Our plans and dreams for our future died when they did. It doesn’t diminish the life I have now. I can grieve those losses and be content in my life now all at the same time.
Traumatic experiences can shake your world and profoundly challenge your beliefs. The effects can be intense and long-lasting. Remember that everyone responds and copes with trauma in their own way, and that your response is a normal reaction to an abnormal event.
Some of the ways that trauma may affect you include altered assumptions or a shattered world view; loss of trust, confidence, or sense of control; a search for answers, meaning, or justice; and a sense of alienation or being set apart from other people.
It’s important to not avoid painful thoughts or feelings. If certain situations or people trigger your grief or trauma responses, remind yourself that this is normal and to be expected, and that it will pass. Equally important, reach out for support from family, friends, and/or local or online resources. Talking about your experience can help you to feel less alone and move forward.
Some questions may remain unanswered, and your loss will never be erased. Your experiences with grief and trauma will always be part of you. Over time, however, their impact will lessen as you find ways to live with them and carry forward your memories of the person before they died.
If your trauma response is severe, such that it disrupts your day-to-day life, or if you’re feeling “stuck” with intense feelings that aren’t lessening over time, you are likely to benefit from working with a therapist who is experienced in the areas of trauma and grief. You may need to work with the trauma before you can begin to grieve, or you may need to go back and forth between the two.
Your experience and the way you choose to respond to it is unique to you, but you may find encouragement in knowing that others have found ways to deal with address the challenges they faced while dealing with experiencing both grief and trauma.
Both grief and trauma have the potential to change you. Sometimes when old views are shattered, new views that offer new hopes and different ways of understanding the world are created.