Since then...

SO today marks the day. It’s been 5 years since I lost my brother. Anniversaries are a funny thing. We love them and hate them… it shows you how much time has passed, how much “moving on” has happened and how much life changes from the way it once was. Depending on the anniversary, we love the memories that come with it, or we try to bury the memories and lock them up. For me, this day marks the moment my life forever changed. I remember looking up at the clock at 3:20, tears and hugs around the hospital bed. “How could life go on?” was the truest thing going through my head. BUT, it’s been 5 years, so I’m here to tell you, it goes on. 

I just got back from a 48 hr whirlwind of family time and let me just say, I am BEYOND GRATEFUL for every moment I got with them. Yes, there is a missing piece in the 6 person family… nothing will ever change that. But, I had a moment where I was looking around at my brothers, my parents and my sister-in-law and no joke I have the strongest and best family I could dream of. Looking back on these 5 years, we all have dealt with grief in so many different ways, but each one of us has found unique ways to keep the spirit of my brother alive within us. 
I can’t speak for everyone in my family but I want to share my experience. 

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Doing things in Drew’s honor became almost like a superpower of mine. It created so many moments that truly started to glue back some of the pieces. It gave the tragedy a purpose, it was choosing to say “yes this happened” but how can I make sure good sprouts from this. I also began to see how close and special my relationship was with Drew. How much I am like him and get this… by choosing to do things I think he would have loved… I feel like I’m still getting to know him. He left more with me than I even knew and I am still finding the little gifts he engraved in my life. For me it started with shoe drives, raising over 2,000 pairs of shoes, to simply trying to make someone smile. I have made conscious decisions to remember the way he encouraged me and believed in me, and still to this day that pushes me towards my dreams. Because of who Drew was in my life, I have gotten to live 5 years with him as inspiration for the way I move through this world. — it doesn't fix the fact he’s not here, but it sure does bring something new and special to the table. 

I wanted to share this because losing someone is real and it's REALLY hard. But I encourage anyone who is dealing with the hurt that comes with it, let yourself remember your favorite qualities of theirs and see if you can sprinkle them into your life. It can be actions, events, giving to a charity they supported, going to a concert they would have loved, cheers-ing for the person with mutual friends, stepping into conversations you know they would have been great at, the list can go on and on. You never know what could happen. I am so amazed and seriously shocked by the “good” things that have come since August 5th, 2013. 

I MISS YOU DREW. Today will always be a day we celebrate who you were, and how we all are changed because of who you were. 

 

 

as always,

live free,

ARIE*

 

arielle bodenhausen