Geena The Latina » Strength or Just Dealing?™

Strength or Just Dealing?

Post: July 20th, 2014

Someone told me yesterday that I was the strongest person they know.  I get told that A LOT.  I’m not sure whether or not I am truly the strongest person they know or whether it’s just my perspective on life that makes them think I’m the strongest person they know.

11 years ago I had 2 brothers killed and a grandma pass away all within 5 months of each other.  Death sucks.  It is something that no one can ever prepare you for.   It’s a feeling that is indescribable. The only way you will ever know what it feels like is if it actually happens to you.  However it’s something that I would never wish on anyone, not even my worst enemy. Hopefully I don’t have too many of those though.

When someone unexpectedly dies, you go through a wide variety of emotions. You are sad.  You are angry.  You think life isn’t worth living.  You may act wild or carefree.  You hate God.  You love God.  You act like it never happened.  You begin to have no feelings whatsoever.  You have lots of feelings. You shut people out.  You let people in.  You are in a daze.  You live in a different reality.  You cry for days, months, even years. You become numb to the world.

I can go on and on about the range of emotions one goes through while grieving.  Everyone is different and everyone reacts differently.  It’s unpredictable.  That’s why I always tell people, especially those who have never experienced death, to let people grieve however they want.  Don’t judge, just let them do what they need to do.  You have no clue what they are going through and you will never know unless you experience the same thing and God willing, you won’t ever have to.

One positive thing that comes from death is that your perspective on life changes.  You look at the world in a different way.  Things that were once so important suddenly aren’t so important anymore.  Things like family and good friends that you may have taken for granted previously, suddenly become the most important thing in your life. You realize that things you once thought were major “problems” like break-ups, work issues, spats with friends, money problems, etc., really aren’t problems at all.  Because you see, nothing is a problem, in comparison to losing someone you love.

This is where I think people see what they perceive as “strength” in me.  Someone may see me not have much emotion or feelings towards certain things or situations and they immediately view that as strength.  Things that make other people break down, may not even faze me.  When certain events make others feel like it’s the end of the world, I don’t even flinch.  I’m not sure whether that is truly “strength” or instead just the way I have learned to cope with the unimaginable.

It is true. Things don’t really bother me, because I know there can always be worse.  I know because I have experienced the worst.  It has made me at times numb to the world and to the people around me.  I don’t let others in and I don’t tell many people about how I’m truly feeling inside.  It is how I have learned to deal.  My brother’s death however, has given me a deeper compassion and love for others at the same time.  It has taught me to truly appreciate people and the world around me.  It has taught me that the little mishaps of the world really aren’t that major after all. And all in all, I think death HAS made me strong.  However it has also made me detached, numb, and at times sad too.

I’m not sure whether being the “strongest person” people know is good or bad.  At times, I envy those who can show emotion and live life so care-free as if nothing in the world matters, as if the world is such a happy place.  They seem to be so happy all the time and live in complete oblivion, which doesn’t seem to be working out so bad for them.  Ignorance is bliss right?  However, at times I don’t envy those types of people because when shit hits the fan, it really hits the fan for them.  For me, those times wouldn’t even faze me.

I’ve experienced a different reality than most and that reality has made me the person I am today.  It’s shaped me into the woman I have become and has given me a different perspective on life.  I’m not sure if that makes me really “strong” like everyone says I am or if my perspective on life is misinterpreted for strength. Either way, one thing I do know, is that I will never ever be the same person I was before my brothers died, and I’m learning how to deal with that one day at a time.  Call that strength or call that dealing, either way it’s my reality.