18 Years Later… Has My Grief Reached the Age of Majority? (An Open Letter)

Dear Mummy and Daddy,

Today marks 18 years since your hearts stopped beating. Today marks 18 years since I became an orphan. Today marks 18 years since a piece of my heart was ripped out of my chest, leaving a gaping hole that has never been filled.

Do 18 years mean that my grief has reached the age of majority? Do 18 years mean that the pain of losing you will become less intense? Do 18 years mean that the hole in my heart will begin to close?

The unfortunate truth is that 18 years does not mean a thing. The truth is that 18 years means nothing more than what 1 year meant and it means nothing less than what 50 years will mean. The number of years will never change the fact that you are gone and that I’ll be an orphan forever. The number of years will never change the fact that on 13 February 2003 you each took you final breath, leaving me parentless and broken.

They say that “time heals all wounds”, but losing you has taught me that this couldn’t be further from the truth. The wound of losing you will be with me forever. Healing the wound means ceasing to love you, for “grief is love with nowhere to go”. Sometimes the wound feels paralyzing, and sometimes it is just something I live with. The wound is like a grey hair that I cannot pull out of my head and that I try to style to fit around my life, but on “bad hair days” the grey hair is so pronounced that it is all I see when I look in the mirror.

Although time hasn’t (and probably will never) heal my wound, time has been somewhat of a friend. Time has given me the space to learn many things and to work on living a life I know you would’ve wanted for me. Time has given me the space to learn to live with my wound and to continue loving you.

In conclusion, although 18 years doesn’t mean much, it means a whole lot. While the number of years will never change what happened, the number of years is a message of hope. The message of hope does not mean that someday my grief will go away. The message of hope tells me that on days the pain feels unbearable, I can look back at the time I’ve survived without you and be reassured that everything will be all right.

I will never cease celebrating your life and the life you gave me. Continue resting in peace, ‘til we meet again…