I’ve been thinking a lot about grief and death lately. The aspect of sorrow and how it can be entirely paralysing, but also an agent of change and action.

I have been at a standstill, in a holding pattern, for years. In part, it was related to the fact that I have an issue with depression. I’ve had at least one clinical depression in the last 10 years, and in all likelihood, the events leading up to and taking place during the pandemic brought on additional strain on my mental health.

But grief can also be an agent of change.

My best friend – one of very few friends I have – died April 19th 2022. She was amazing. She was joyous, driven, creative, supportive, a power house in so many ways. And she never gave up, even as the cancer was chewing its way through her bones – literally.

Depression is not the same as cancer. It steals meaning and joy, rather than warping the body, meaning it has stolen everything in me that makes it worth getting up in the morning. The death of my best friend did change things for me, though. I am devastated. The grief and loss is unfathomable. The support she gave me is no longer there.

But her legacy is. Her legacy is her belief in me, her unbreakable spirit, her bravery in the face of certain death. Because of that, I have started to create habits.

I’m learning French, German and Latin (slowly) every day. I’m reading 10 pages of a book (one of many books I have on game design that I just can’t get through because they’re so… ugh) I have not yet fully read every day. I figure I’ll get through one book a month that way, which is better than none1. I’m walking for at least 30 minutes a day. I’m writing a paragraph or three every day on one of my many projects. I’m trying to blog every day, although that has been less successful. I’m making a sketch every day.

Because of my crappy mental health, this is all difficult. What I really want to do is hide, sleep, do nothing. After work is done every day, there’s not much left of me, spoon wise. This time, however, grief is what is making me act. These tiny habits that force me to be active, not passive. And she did this. She’s my inspiration. She never gave up. She believed in me, and so I am trying very hard to be worthy of her.

Most likely I’m still depressed. Most likely I should seek help2, but if you’ve been depressed, help is not something you necessarily look for, or even think you deserve. My tiny list of habits is helping though.

Grief has helped me understand that time is limited. Her time was, and when I die, I want to die like she did. No regrets.

  1. This does not include books I’m interested in reading, just those heavy academic tomes about game development that use words like synergy and hierarchies and production values. Usually I read about a book a day, but they’re light romances or science fiction or fun. And most of them are written by women.
  2. I have, but wheels turn slowly in health care in Sweden.