Two weeks ago, my uncle died.
Growing up, I had very little family outside my immediate one. I had my parents, my brother and sister, my grandmother and her husband and my uncle. That was it.
I would like to recognise that I know I am incredibly fortunate just to have had that much. I know many don't.
I have not known grief or loss. Growing up on a farm, losing pets was never that much of a sad occasion. You were grateful for the memory but the loss wasn't usually unexpected. The only other two people I know who have died were great-grandmothers - and their deaths were not unexpected. We celebrated their long lives and all they had accomplished. There was some mourning, but I never knew them well enough to feel that great loss.
My uncle was 48. He was my dad's best friend for almost four decades. He was diagnosed with brain tumours two years ago. He leaves behind two tween children.
Even writing this, I tear up. This was the only person who I have in my memories outside of my immediate family who has been there. He let me live with him for a few months when I moved to the city for work before I found a place to live. When I did move out he was the person I knew I could call at any time if I was in trouble and he'd be there. He is in many of my memories as a child and teenager.
I don't even know how to handle such a loss. The family didn't have a funeral, and while I went home to be with my mum and spend time being supported by my boyfriend (long distance), coming back to my regular life has been incredibly difficult. I live across the other side of the country to all I know and love. I find myself mindlessly watching TV or sleeping or pacing. If I'm not forgetting to eat, I'm eating a lot. I'm recognising signs of when I suffered depression almost two years ago.
Does it get easier? Do you feel normal again? Even those I know who have lived through loss haven't been able to help me - no one I know has any kind of similar story.
I'm at a bit of a loss.