Spoiler alert: If you have not seen Frozen II, then read at your own risk.
I want to applaud Disney for touching on one of the hardest topics in the most realistic way… the loss of someone you love and what grief feels like.
The song “The Next Right Thing” takes on the challenge of describing what grief feels like when you have just lost someone. The numbness, the confusion, the shock.
Listen here: The Next Right Thing
And then continue reading.
Grief takes over everything. And there is a very small voice telling you to get back up. To continue to live for that person.
But all you can do at first, is miss them.
It feels like the world should have stopped with them.
But it all keeps going.
And all you can do is take it one step at a time. It’s all you can handle.
For me, I had to take it one day at a time.
Going through the motions. Planning her funeral and wake. Writing her eulogy.
Going to both. And then back to Purdue.
Start going to classes again. Group meetings. Exams.
To study what felt meaningless in a world without her.
And all you want is for it to go back to how it used to be.
Life changed forever in a split second.
Where everything aligned for her to be gone.
If only one thing was different, she would still be here.
So you keep wishing life would go back to normal.
But death is permanent.
And it takes a long time for your mind to process what that means.
What is life without them?
What is the point?
When you wake up each morning and have the same realization over and over again.
She’s not coming back.
That dream you had with her in it is still a lie.
And the weight of the grief continues to crush you. Wave after wave.
So you continue to work through it one day at a time.
You make that choice.
I was constantly asked how I was okay.
The answer is I wasn’t okay.
But I made a choice to live for Ryane.
I knew she wouldn’t want my life to be over because of her.
She would want me to graduate.
To chase my dreams.
To laugh again.
So I made that choice for her.
And trust me it was not an easy choice.
I wanted to give into the darkness, allow me to become a shell of myself.
To disappear into my mind.
To hate this world for what it did to my loved one.
But I made a choice to become better from it, stronger.
I worked every day to find a way to heal.
To let go of the darkness.
The hate and misery.
And to choose love and light.
All things that define Ryane.
I chose her.
The one part of the song I will disagree with is when she says,
“How to rise from the floor, when it’s not you I’m rising for.”
In that first year without Ryane, the only thought that kept me moving forward was that I was doing it for her.
She was the reason I got up every day.
She is the reason I pursued my passion to be a social worker.
The reason I love hard.
I take chances.
The reason I continue on.
Because I want to give her a life through me.
All the things she was never able to do.
I want to do them for her.
“And with the dawn, what comes then? When it’s clear, that everything will never be the same again. Then, I’ll make the choice….to hear that voice….and do the next right thing.”
For all those struggling with grief, it is a constant battle.
Each day a new battle – of memories, plans that will never happen, emotions.
But take it one step, one day at a time.
The pain will hit less frequently eventually.
And you can continue to live for your loved one.
Allowing them to live on through you.
Just by doing “the next right thing.”