10 Years Later...The Aftermath of Grief

October 12, 2015

I sit alone in my room. Kids are tucked into bed. Husband is downstairs watching a football game.  

The soft glow of light shines from my bedside lamp. Snuggled against the pillows, this place is my safe haven. A place I find rest and peace from the busyness of each day.

I find a familiar episode of Gilmore Girls and settle in to watch, but more importantly, to remember. My sister Katrina loved this show. And it was one of the last things we did together. We’d sit on her bed, she too weak to get up, hunkered down with drinks or snacks or just each other to watch episodes together.

We’d laugh and cry, interspersing our own conversation against the replayed episodes we’d watched more than a few times.

“I wonder what your kids will be like?” she’d say. I’d smile and tell her my hopes for the future with my then-boyfriend-now-husband Kyle.

“I can’t wait for you to have babies,” she’d respond. “I can’t wait to watch our kids grow up together.”

Lots of memories were made in Katrina's room. 
“Me neither,” I’d reply.

Shaking off the knowledge of how sick Katrina truly was, in the space and security of her room, with the Gilmore Girls playing in the background—life felt safe. Normal. Like it could go on as it had forever.

Until it didn’t.

This October will be ten years since Katrina died.

I count the years each fall as I’m inevitably drawn to sitting in my room, watching Gilmore Girls, subconsciously recreating memories with Katrina.

I wonder what she would think of my kids? I wonder what trips we would have taken? I wonder if she’d be writing with us? Or if she would still have her interior design business?

Grief, 10 years later, looks different than it did at first. No more the overwhelming, almost physical ache, but a softer hurt. Deep in your soul.

Most days, you’re okay. Most days are good.

But there are those days, few and far between, that hit like a wave. The loss of a shared journey we’ve no longer had these last ten years seems overwhelming. Simply the lack of her presence submerges me until I find myself in a puddle on the floor.

Or sitting in a room, watching reruns of a show that’s long since ended.

Reminding, once again, that things will never be the same. That life goes on and memories continue to be made without her. And that is the most bittersweet thing about grief, a catch-22. As the aching loss of the person lessens on a daily basis, your memories created together lessen as well.

So where’s the hope? Sometimes I wonder.

It is there, if I’ll lean into the grief to see it.

I find it in the laugh of her daughter, now fifteen, who’s unknowingly taken on many of her mother’s mannerisms. I find it in memories. In the faith that I have that I will one day see her again. In the joy of remembering how she lived. How she encouraged. How she loved Jesus and others so well.

It comes in the knowledge that others have lost loved ones as well, and that I am not alone. In sharing with others the loss I've experienced, and listening as they share their stories of loss, too.

It’s not much, but somehow, it’s enough.

Have you lost someone you loved dearly? How do you remember them? What has your grief journey looked like? We’d love to hear your stories, friend—burdens are lighter when carried together. Comment below or send us a message at theruthexperience@hotmail.com

Katrina's story was shared recently at the Bridging the Gap  Thrive conference, just one more way we were able to remember her life and the impact she had on us and others who knew her. Bridging the Gap graciously agreed to let us share her story here. Please click here to watch the video. 

Today we are once again linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee and Holley Gerth.


  1. I wish I'd had the chance to know her. I'm sure I'd love her as much as I love you!

    1. Thanks Nancy! I think she would have loved you too :)

  2. beautifully written. you are thriving in your grieving - evident to all. And will be a comfort to many. Bless you, especially in the Fall when perhaps memories are move vivid, stirring and grievous.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Sue. I appreciate it.

  3. I don't know why I am doing this. Projecting this story and these feelings out to the universe on a random link I clicked while trying to find understanding. But here it goes.

    It's been 9 years since I lost my best friend Rob to a car crash. By best friend, I absolutely mean attached at the hip, spent the majority of our waking hours together. I feel like I have coped well with my grief over the years, I even managed to live normal days on the last two anniversaries of his passing. But lately I have felt overwhelmed with grief, when I should be at my happiest.

    This year despite it's drawbacks, I married the love of my life. But that day was filled with as much melancholy as it was joy. I didn't have my best man. The guy whom I had weathered most of my storms with. But wait there is more, in just two months I will be welcoming my first child into the world. She will not know the man who would have spoiled her rotten as her godfather. Who would have took her fishing, taught her martial arts, and how to scare off boys. All these things he is going to miss out on and more.

    His death has ever felt quick, unexpected, and senseless. His decision to be a passenger in someone else's car seems like a benign decision we all make on a daily basis. But the consequences of that decision snuffed out everything he could have done and everything he could have been. He'll never be a husband, father, contributor to his community, whatever. It has snuffed out the potential for what could be, and I guess it wounds me that I'm here trying to live out those dreams we used to mused about at 3 am under the stars.

    I dunno if it's right for me to say I have survivors guilt, because I was no where near him when he passed, I had no hand in it. But I do feel guilty about living, when he isn't. I guess I just needed to say it.

    1. We've discovered that grief is like an ocean wave - sometimes it's wildness crashes over us, tossing us around and other times it's gentle, a subtle background noise in our day-to-day life. Praying for you as your grieve your best friend.