A couple of weeks ago, a dear friend of mine passed away suddenly. I woke up to the news that Friday morning and have been in and out of a foggy state of shock since then. I’ve dealt with the grief of older relatives passing, but never with anyone so young and so unexpectedly. I didn’t really know how to think or feel last week, and as I normally do when I don’t know how to react, I laugh half-heartedly and do my best to get through each day working around that disbelief.
At first, it didn’t feel appropriate for me to post anything online about my friend’s passing. Partly because it felt disrespectful to him and his family. Mostly because I couldn’t articulate how I was feeling. Aside from ‘numb’, I had nothing else to say. How do you sum up what someone means to you in a little blog post or Instagram caption?
It wasn’t long before my social media feeds were filled with pictures of him and mutual friends (he had lots!) and wistful remembrances of how he’d touched their lives. How we’d never forget his smile and how he lit up a room with his jokes. I decided to share my own memories on Instagram and Facebook, but a blog post still seemed…not right. It was as if I had to face the reality of his death, and I just didn’t want to do it.
“It’s too hard to write this. I won’t be able to. My readers won’t care. They don’t know me,” I thought to myself.
Oh, how wrong I was, on all fronts. I wrote about it anyway, because no matter how much I didn’t want to write about him, he was also the only thing I could write about. I forgot how much blogging brings me clarity; how it helps me work through my jumbled thoughts and feelings. I forgot how much weight is lifted off my shoulders once I write things out. Most of all, I forgot about the amazing community I’d somehow attracted in my six years of blogging. They care immensely about the things I’m into, whether that’s fashion or a non-profit I’m supporting or a new indie boutique or designer I’ve discovered.
By far, the easiest blog posts I’ve ever written were remembrances – of my bulldog and now of my friend. When I allowed those feelings to come pouring out, there was a rawness and vulnerability there that I just can’t match when I’m talking about anything else. Though it’s difficult to wrap my head around it, once I’m writing it becomes the purest written form of me I could possibly put out there. I’m floored by everyone who’s offered condolences, kind words of support, or shared their own vulnerable experiences.
My advice to any blogger who’s working through grief or any other difficult situation is to channel that vulnerability. Don’t close yourself off from the community you’ve created with your blog readers. You’ve created a platform for your voice and your thoughts, so why not put the strongest ones out there? More than likely, there are a lot of nice people out there who can relate to what you’re going through. Just as your blog can be a source of joy and excitement, it might also be the one perfectly unexpected place for you to heal.
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]