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    letter from the editor- living with grief

    So ten days ago I got some really devastating news and it’s taken me this long to comprehend it. In fact, I’m still unsure that I truly understand the situation. Out of respect for the person who does not use social media, I will not name them and only refer to them as “N.” Ten days ago I learned that somebody very close to me, N, is dying of cancer. Just typing that sentence made me stop breathing, seeing how real those words are. This is not a situation where it will go away or be cured, it is actually very final. I have been so fortunate that I’ve never had anyone close to me with any form of this terrible disease so it was a very hard pill to swallow—and really, I’ve never had anyone in my direct family pass away so I am so unfamiliar with this. I’m not sure what hit me harder—the shock or the sadness. Beyond giving specifics, because I want to leave that up to N, I want to talk about grief for a minute. Grief is so personal, I’m coming to understand. No two people experience it or digest it in the same ways and there is no right way to grieve. Getting this news was the absolute worst news I’ve ever gotten in my life and it continues to surprise me how much it hurts. I have never ever been so sad, I didn’t even know it was possible—and I’ve been through some very hard and sad situations. There is always an upside, of course. I force myself to remember that this person has lived a very full and long life—but not always a great one. In fact, N has been through many tragedies, but their attitude of appreciating life and always being thankful for what they had, put N on top of any situation. This is a person I have loved and respected and admired since I was born and there are countless lessons to be learned from N, but I think that’s the one I will take with me forever: to always be thankful. My grief has come and gone every few days or hours, some days I’ve been okay and others, I can barely get off the ground. I wonder how I will ever really cope when this loss occurs in the final sense. I read a quote just today, it was a comment left on the Humans of New York Facebook page, about grief that really hit home:

    “Grief is like an ocean. Some days, the waves are so high and the sea so rough, you feel like you might drown in sorrow. Other times, the water is clear and calm, and you can lay back in peace with the sun on your face. You’ll be swimming in that ocean for the rest of your life, but it helps to know you won’t always feel like you’re drowning.”

    Right now I very much feel like I am drowning and the one person who can help me—who always helped me—can’t. That’s the hardest part. How do you let go of someone who has literally saved your life and made your life what it is? I keep listening to people tell me that N will never really go away. A friend wrote me an email that said “N has been your solid rock foundation, endless reservoir of wisdom and guidance and the loving glue that has kept you stable and together your entire lives since birth.  N is a part of you, just as much as your heart, arms and legs are a part of you.” These words I believe are true. Someone who has shaped every fiber in your body can’t possibly just go away, their lessons and their feelings, their happiness and their sadness, their memories…if they helped create the person I am today, then as long as I am standing, N will be with me. I must remember that. I know that this hole in my heart will never go away—and I don’t want it to—I always want to know that N is with me, even if it hurts me to think about. But I will try to pick myself up off the floor, even when it hurts so much and it seems too hard. N would want me to. N would want me to keep living the best life I can live. If anyone wants to share their stories of grief with me or how you cope, please leave them in the comments below or privately message me. Thank you in advance. 

    On a happier note, tomorrow we have one really cool guy on the site: J.D. Gluckstern! J.D. is a real renaissance man. He is a DJ (he’s a part of the same DJ collective as a past feature, Noah Souder-Russo!), party thrower, and a lifestyle boutique owner. J.D., along with his beautiful fiancé Hannah, own the very chic and trendy Concrete + Water, located in Williamsburg, New York. They just launched their e-commerce site, so definitely check that out—I just browsed the selection and am flagging way too many things for purchase! This couple has some serious style and clearly, business sense. For such a new store, they already have quite the following and I have a feeling this is just step one in a longer plan. I love that J.D. and his fiancé are partners and I love that they find the time to do all this, all while planning their upcoming wedding (can you imagine what this wedding will look like? They better keep us posted!). In his interview J.D. talks about making some moves earlier in his career that made him feel like the only option he had was to become his own boss—clearly, it worked. I hope this is a lesson out there to many people—it doesn’t matter what path someone else wants you on. Take the path that feels right for you and take it until it leads you somewhere. Never stop. When there is a will, there is definitely a way. J.D. also name drops some hotels, restaurants, and parties he likes so check back tomorrow because they are obviously places we should all go! Lastly, J.D. sent a brand new mix over for the site, for your listening pleasure. We’ll have that tomorrow, too!

    On Thursday we have a really cool chick, Jen Thum! I was originally put in contact with Jen through my sister (check out my sister’s feature here) who thought she would be perfect for the site. Spoiler alert: she is! Jen is an Egyptologist, archaeologist, and a PhD student—wow! Beyond her crazy cool credentials, she gives us insight into her lifestyle, whether it be in a classroom or on digs! Jen casually talks about her archaeological excavations in Israel and Egypt (say what?!) and her summer trips with Oxford (as in the prestigious university) in Europe. People think archaeology is all dust and sweat but obviously that’s not all it is. She really paints a picture of what kinds of opportunities are out there for people who want to get in the field. Even more amazing, she gives invaluable career tips to people who are considering this as their profession. She stresses the importance of everything from interning to being organized to being motivated. Actually, these tips can and should be used for all career goals. Those three pieces are keys to moving up in any field of work. We are officially on watch to see when Jen discovers something really life changing on her excavations!

    As always, check out the About page for more information on the site and the About Stevie page for more info on me. Feel free to privately message me or even submit yourself or a friend to take a conversation!

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    xo

    Stevie Benanty

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