I wanted to write something light this week. I wanted to perhaps make fun of some ridiculous holiday traditions I don’t understand or maybe even write about how awful a lot of Christmas songs are and offer my suggestions for ones that actually aren’t horrible, but in wake of the recent tragedy in my neighborhood, I just didn’t have it in me to be clever and witty this week. I know it’s almost impossible to believe I’m not clever and witty at all times, but it’s true.  
I often say, “If I die, please, before anyone does anything, delete my Facebook account,” but, through various tragedies, I’ve seen people take to Facebook accounts to speak their final goodbyes.
I believe it’s very cathartic for them to be able to say what is in their hearts when they lose someone, and Facebook pages have become such a part of our identities, if those who “keep in touch” with their loved ones find peace in those posts, all the better for them.
Some may have their opinions about such a public display, but I think, if it helps you, you are allowed to grieve however you see fit, with the exception of hurting another living being or yourself.
I share a lot through my columns, and it’s pretty common knowledge if you know me well enough that I lost my brother 11 years ago when he was in a car accident on the way home from work.
When they describe grieving, they call it a process. And boy, is it ever.
In the initial moments of his death, I couldn’t quite grasp what had happened. I was in disbelief and convinced someone needed to do something.
It couldn’t be true.
But it was.
And, so, I started the process.
I was mad — raging mad. I was sad. I was weak. I was anxious. I cried for what seemed like months.
I didn’t know how to even begin to deal.
For a while, I drank in order to numb the pain, escape the reality of what happened and to sleep at night. That wasn’t really a good idea, trust me, but I felt, at the time, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able sleep, sometimes for days as my head raced with the thoughts of losing him.
All I did was worry if he was lost, alone, safe, scared. After all this time, it’s still hard, but, if you lose someone you love, trust me, it does get easier to cope with, but it takes time.
It doesn’t feel like it will right now, but it will. I’m living proof. It will never heal completely, but you can and will go on.
I, still, after many years, have trouble facing my brother’s death and accepting the fact that he is gone. I’m not sure I’ve ever fully dealt with it, or ever fully will, but I’m still working on it and I’m living my life.
When you lose someone, you will have bad days, you’ll have good days. You’ll think of them often, and the memories that you shared together are something you will cherish forever. No one and nothing will ever be able to take them from you.
You’ll think of fights and regret holding grudges. You’ll laugh at silly things you shared and find reminders throughout time that will, at times, make you cry, but, eventually, bring a smile to your face.
Losing the people we love is hard, but losing someone you love when you least expect it is most likely the hardest thing you’ll ever have to go through in your life. Dear Lord I hope it is, because I can’t imagine worse.
But take the time you need. If you want to post on that person’s Facebook account every day for the rest of your life, do it. If it heals your heart, do it.
Whatever outlet you choose, just make sure you take care of yourself.
That’s the most important thing. You know what it feels like to lose someone and it’s a pain you wouldn’t wish upon anyone, so don’t put yourself in any position of danger throughout your process.
No matter what you believe, religiously, spiritually, or otherwise, please don’t ever believe that when someone is gone, they are gone forever and their existence just ceases.
Everyone has their own system of beliefs and they are entitled to that, but for me, personally, I believe that energy is constant and that’s what we are made of.
I think our spirit is forever. Just like Johnny Cash sings in “A Thing Called Love,” “Ever since time nothing’s ever been found that’s stronger than love.” I think we are beings made of love and I truly believe love never dies.
My way of looking at life and death has helped me immensely in dealing with loss. This physical world can’t be all there is.
I’ve experience far too many things that have been clear signs my brother is watching over me to think otherwise.
Holidays are going to be hard — birthdays and death anniversary days even worse. People are going to comfort you and be by your side while you mourn, but eventually, they’ll dwindle down. It’s not that they don’t care, it’s just part of moving on.
And we all, as hard as it is, have to pick up the pieces and move on from tragedy. But we all are fully entitled to do so in our own ways at at our own pace. Don’t let people tell you otherwise. Don’t let anyone tell you to get over it. Don’t get upset when people try to relate your loss to one of theirs that is in no way related to what you’re going through.  
Grieving is personal and very important. And it’s yours. No matter what relation you were to the person, your grief is important and just as important as anyone else’s.
Think of the life that was lost, and live yours to the very fullest to honor that person who was robbed of all the things they could have become, all the things they should have been able to experience. In their name, don’t hold grudges. Don’t waste time and be sure those you love know it. Tell them. Show them. Hold them close and cherish each and every moment because you really never know when it will be someone’s last.
I hope you find comfort in these words and you’re going to be OK. We all will.
God bless.   
 (Jenna Wasakoski, a News-Item editor, is a graduate of Von Lee School of Aesthetics and is certified as a professional makeup artist.)