What’s missing from the picture

As some of you might already know, this period is rather tough for me, as I’ve recently lost a loved person. But this has also given me the context and space to better understand myself and my emotional dynamic, as I’m passing through the whole grieving process.

Grief is, to put it in a poetic way, the daughter of love. Is what’s left when a dear person leaves us. It doesn’t matter if we talk about someone’s death or about being left by those we were holding dear. It is loss, and loss is painful. That easy.

But this whole pain is never just about the present moment. More often it is about the future moments that person will be missing from our lives. Maybe our first job, our graduation, our wedding. Milestones where we’d love that person’s presence around us.

Currently, my main struggle is to accept that there is no such thing as a right way of living the grief. That the fact that I’m active on Social Media, paint my nails and I’m not wearing only dark clothes is not the expression of me being over it. It’s hard because of the social conditioning that surrounds this kind of moment. The social imperatives of what should and should not be done in such contexts.

Here, though, the grief is about something else. About the small gestures that no one else will be doing for us again. About the way that person smiled or comforted us. About the moments that person will be missing.

Grief is a void. An empty space, a trace left by someone we’ve deeply cared about. And managing it might be hard and uncomfortable at times. It’s personal, intimate, and unique, there is no such thing as two individuals grieving in the same way.

I can only share what I’ve learned so far, hoping it will help more people with their mental struggles.

  • It’s okay to feel good

At first, the moments when I was feeling good, authentically good, were followed by guilt trips. As if I wasn’t doing things right if I could, still, feel good. Until the moment when I realized, sitting in the sun, that she wanted me to feel good. To be happy. And if that person wanted me to feel good with my life while she was part of it, she definitely would have the same attitude now.

  • Stick to a routine

One of the best things you can do during a tough time is sticking to a clear routine. Small habits, daily practice. It helps you adapt to the new reality: a reality where that person is no longer living. But you do still live there, so try to make it easy, not a burden.

  • Do things that make you happy about yourself

It doesn’t have to be a big thing, it has to make you smile. For me, this moment was while cutting the first flowers from my garden and putting them in a vase on my desk. I was happy to see their beauty, feel their fragrance, and I’ve smiled thinking about how much she loved this kind of thing.

  • Revisit your memories with that person

I’m not sure if our loved ones ever leave us, to be fair. There is a part of me that likes to believe that they still hang around somewhere, laughing at our clumsiness and bad decisions. And I might be old-fashioned, but do you remember those photos with you? Go and pass through them. Revisit those moments, the details of the memories you’ve got together. Remember the things you’ve learned from that person. I remember often things she loved, or things she has told me. I also know that, as long as I don’t forget, she’s not dead. Because people die only when those that could tell stories about them will die.

  • Plan your future

Grief tends to make you live in the past. Don’t. Instead, do your best and plan your future. Do it how you feel it. Maybe put together a vision board, or set some goals you want to reach, this is all up to you. Just take the time to reflect on it and establish the small steps you need to take. Your loved ones, even if they’ve passed away, will love to see you succeed.

  • Reach out for support

Say it after me, loud and clear: I’m not weak for needing help. I’m not weak for needing help. Because it’s true, you’re not. Just a human that has to pass an incredibly challenging period of their lives. Talk about it. Be honest about it. Let your dear ones know that you struggle with integrating that loss. It’s okay. It really is. Some of us need more help than others, and it’s perfectly fine. This, as I have said before, is a deeply personal and intimate process. If you feel like the help of a counselor would be beneficial, go ahead and make that appointment. No one has ever been born ready for such life contexts.

This is what I’ve learned so far about dealing with a loved one’s loss. That you need to maintain your composure and take things slowly, one day at a time, without any kind of guilt trips or remorses. You did your best, and definitely has been enough for them, as it should be for you as well. So try to give yourself some credit. It doesn’t seem like it, but you’re doing a great job. And one day, the sun will shine again, as bright and warm as you remember it used to.


fantezie. fantasmă. fantasmagorie. agonia
care se întâlnesc fără să se despartă,
a spart deja granițele cu realitatea,
invazia are forma zilei de mâine,
Șeherezada stă derutată într-o
poveste orientală sucită, distopie, citește
în cafea; sfârșitul
nu mai e nici măcar previzibil,
fericirea se mută la mituri personale

un apus, două apusuri, dor
de portocaliul cu subton de roz celest
ce-a păzit nașterea unei povești,
de sub stern se întoarce spărgând ușa,
cu zgomot, se separă
de liniștea cu care a plecat. prietenie
unilaterală, indivizibilă de ritmul vieții.

o dimineață, două dimineți, ceață.
reflexia din oglindă e tot
ce mai recunosc. corpul meu
singura realitate controlabilă.
cum am ajuns
să nu mai văd decât dezastru
în propria viață?

vina devine materială, un zid
de care mă izbesc cu toată ființa.
6 litere și datoria
de a rămâne. acum mai mult decât oricând
tot ce pot face-i să rămân pe loc
chiar și atunci
când nimeni altcineva nu mai rămâne
mai ales atunci…

fantezia se termină cu mirosul
de pâine caldă și cafea. realitatea
mușcă din ființa mea, lup tânăr și lacom

nu judec. ai plecat
înaintea singurului moment
când aș fi avut nevoie să rămâi,
azi văd lumea cu proprii ochi și știu
că viața mi-a fost miză într-un joc de demult
și că într-o bună zi o să mor,
ca toate femeile din neamul meu,
înecându-mă cu adevărul,
captivă-n propriul suflet pe care
n-am apucat la timp să-l pun pe mut.

Letter to my suicidal friends

If you’re reading this, just know that I’m sorry. I am sorry for having you put in front of such a radical decision. I’m sorry that the world hurt you so bad that it made you believe that there’s no other way. And I hope you’ll read this letter till its very end.

Life is a terrible adventure, indeed. It is such a terrible thing that, at the end of it, we’re all dead already, but living it is no chore. Being alive means a lot more than you’d possibly see right now. It means regular chances to discover new things, little things that could bring you joy. They call them days. It means that you can still hug your loved ones, and send a good thought to those which are no longer among us. It means that you can still do something to end the hurting. Something other than death.

I know it feels like a never-ending spiral, but the truth is it ain’t. The pain won’t last forever. Bad days won’t last forever. No matter how many of them you’ve had till now, keep in mind that they’re temporary. Remember the fact that blooming is always painful to the bud, but the flower is always beautiful. So beautiful, that the pain of blooming gets to be forgotten.

Now look in the mirror. Do you see yourself? Look with care. See your eyes, your neck, your lips, your fingers, your hair. See your eyelids, your skin, your smile, even if you are faking it right now. Take a deep breath, as you see your chest moving as you inhale the air. And, now, think about this: you’re just a little bud, in the middle of its blooming process.

It is ugly, painful, and seemingly never-ending. But it will end up soon, and you’ll get to have another perspective about this, once it is over. I know, from what I’ve lived so far, that to grow, you have to feel the pain. It hurts leaving behind things that you feel attached, but are no longer good for you. And when we talk about people, it hurts even worse.

I would want you to know one thing. Pain is temporary, but death is a one-time-only, permanent solution. I know you don’t really want to die, you just want the pain to end, but this way, the pain will only be passed to someone else. Usually to your loved ones.

It hurts us too, you know? Because, the way they know and can, the people who genuinely love you are holding your hand through your pain and hell. We try daily to be there for you, to say or do something that could make you smile, even if it is just a morning text or a song we’ve discovered and we think that you’d like.

And losing you would mean losing a part of our souls and this world’s sparkle, as well. We, the people who love and care about you, will be honest, we hate this dark tango, too. We know you’re harming yourself. We know that you’re fasting for days, to reach the perfect body. We know that you’ve been crying yourself to sleep over the same thing for weeks. We know, we care, we see you and we try to support you the ways we know best, as we talk about our hardships when you’re not there, to protect you, as we want to be strong for you, even if, at times, we struggle as well.

 But this happens only because we also trust you that you’ll become that person you were dreaming about when we were 10 and life looked easy and pretty and fun. Look again at yourself, and you’ll see how much of that road you’ve already walked, just look!

And that’s not even the end of it. Yes, the temptation of giving up is greater than whatever we might tell you, sometimes, but don’t. Please, don’t. You don’t have to give up on living. You don’t have to give up on hope, on loving, on expecting, on dreaming. You don’t have to give up at yourself. No matter how appealing this would possibly look.

There are so many places you would love, and you didn’t see them yet. So many people out there asking themselves if there’s someone like you even existing on this planet, and you will, one day, get the chance to discover them. The world is such a better place with you in it. With your imperfect, self-doubting, dreamer and hurt self.

Bad times don’t mean a bad life. You are strong enough to face them and capable enough to enjoy the good that is to come, knowing that you are worth it. Just be patient, as life has its own pace, and keep your faith grounded in the stars and the sound of the voices of your loved ones. And don’t be ashamed to tell us how could we help you to be effective, or to ask for professional help. If you feel like it and you’ll tell us, we will help you find the best mental health professionals, in order to see you thriving again.

Maybe you feel like you’re all by yourself, but you’re not. Everyone who has loved you is by your side, trying to help, as we all know that maybe not tomorrow, but the next month, the next year, the person trying to give up on life could be us. And no one deserves to get through all this by itself. We’re always here.