Personally, distractions in the form of work or other pursuits helped me only to a certain extent.
I had to allow myself time to remember her and be sad, and also be willing to tell the people around me about how I was feeling.
For example, I would take a step back if I felt that wedding planning or chasing an assignment at work was getting overwhelming — especially around her birthday or Deepavali, which used to be “special” times we spent together.
I would turn to a cherished hobby or even just talk to others about my thoughts and struggles.
My best friend’s sister and two close friends, who were also relatively new to the workforce when she died, formed a close-knit support group of sorts and I was part of the circle.
We share our adulting problems and meet often in person, which has been really important to us in learning to cope with her death.
One of these friends said that he has learned it’s all right not to know where he’s heading. “You don’t have to move fast from point A to point B but just as long as you keep moving, it’s all right,” he said.
Even having a furry companion may help. After my husband and I adopted two cats last year and a third earlier this year, they have brought so much joy in our lives.
Sometime after I began dating my then-boyfriend (now husband), I promised her that if we ever tied the knot, she and our other close friend could plan the wedding. She would be a bridesmaid and godmother to our children, if we ever decided to have them.
When she died, all these plans fell on the wayside.
I put them out of my mind as the months went by, but was completely surprised when her sister took “her” to my wedding — in the form of her favourite Dumbo plush toy.
My husband had asked her family to take something of hers to the wedding, knowing I was torn up about not having her there. This gesture really helped me to see that she would forever be in my heart.
I also put up keepsakes of her when we moved into our new marital home — most prominently, a photo of the last lunch we had for her birthday before she passed on.