A couple years ago when my mom passed, I came across a reddit comment in a thread about grief that I have saved for moments of extreme loss, i find it cathartic. It said:

Alright, here goes. I'm old. What that means is that I've survived (so far) and a lot of people I've known and loved did not. I've lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can't imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here's my two cents.

I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don't want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don't want it to "not matter". I don't want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can't see.

As for grief, you'll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you're drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it's some physical thing. Maybe it's a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it's a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.

In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don't even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you'll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what's going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything...and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.

Somewhere down the line, and it's different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O'Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you'll come out.

Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don't really want them to. But you learn that you'll survive them. And other waves will come. And you'll survive them too. If you're lucky, you'll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.

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I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and such a beautiful tribute.

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Both you and Josh led a very well rounded life and had many great friends, and enjoyed life to the fullest. Your circle of friends, including Josh was very much like a family. I was sad to read at the end that Josh's life had ended very prematurely. I'm sure he was not expecting this. Surely he was going to live to a ripe old age. He has passed on, and into the next life. Hopefully, in his next life, he will be born into similarly rich circle of friends and family.

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Touching tribute. Well done

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Nice memories Tania, RIP Josh, btw being a Turk I wonder what did Turkish women tell you?

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Hi Tania, I lost my mom in 2019 and we were immigrants. So much of her life in NY is now known only to me and my brother. It's good to share memories. First, their death feels so unreal. Then, the memories start to feel unreal too.

Have you heard of "The Broccoli Tree"? John Green did a video essay on it once. He debated whether it would've been safer for the tree to be kept from the world, known only to those who loved it. (Cause its fame led some terrible people to cut it down.) In the end, John decided: "If we hoard and hide what we love, we can still lose it. Only then, we're alone in the loss." (The good news is that the tree eventually grew back!)

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Hi Tania,

What a great writer you are, I could feel where this was going and also feel the pain and anger why this could happen to the most beautiful people in the world, so it seems. I wish I could take just one tear away to make this more bareable..

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Tanya, that was a wonderful tribute to a true friend & soulmate.

It reminds me of a line from MASH when Hawkeye & BJ are fighting and (referring to BJ's family in California) Hawkeye says (paraphrasing) "Yes, you do have the most to lose - because you have the most!"

I think that's what you all had with Josh.

Peace out,


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