Today is the third anniversary of my brother Andrew’s death, and I’m taking time to let myself have all of the feels.

Since Andrew died of cancer, I’ve been a roller coaster of emotions. Laughing thinking about his sense of humor, crying thinking about how we won’t have anymore goofy photos together, singing our favorite songs, screaming at the universe “why?!,” living my life to its fullest, feeling like I’m wasting my life, wallowing in the pity that comes with feeling broken, elating in the glory that is putting myself back together.

Like I said, all of them.

If there’s one thing grief has taught me, it’s that it is totally okay to have all of the feels. I used to try to control my emotions. I wouldn’t be caught dead crying in public. But emotions don’t go away. They hide inside you and come out in other ways.

Like anger and aggression, self-sabotage and self-harm.

Now, I cry all the friggin’ time, and you know what, I’m so much happier of a person because of it. I can’t let go of the fact that my brother died. I will never be able to forget what it was like that morning when we tried in vain to save his life. But I will no longer let it bottle up inside of me, growing like the cancer that took him from me.

Instead, I will have every single one of the feels.

Today, in honor of my brother, I’m taking off to run in the waves at the coast, my fluffy dog Albie at my side, who happens to share the same birthday as Andrew. I’m going to drink some whiskey, laugh at some Mel Brooks films, and allow myself to truly feel every aspect of my grief.

I hope you all can take some time today to allow yourself to feel as well. I hope you can give yourself permission to fully experience life. I hope you can run, laugh, cry, jump, skip, curl in a ball, or whatever it is you need to do to thrive.

With love and light,

Lauren

P.S. In case you missed it before, every October I ask people to be Citizens of Hope in honor of City of Hope, where my brother got his cancer treatment. Even though it’s now November, you can still participate here.