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moving after a loss

hi friends!

I want to talk about something that had a profound impact on my life. About five months after my brother passed away, I made a life-changing decision to move to a different state. Sometimes, I reflect on whether I made this decision too hastily, driven by grief. However, I believe it was more about my need for a change of scenery.

I've always loved the seasons in New York, especially the fall. But when you're grappling with grief, shock, lack of motivation, and depression, the dreary weather doesn't do much to lift your spirits. My brother passed away in 2020, right in the midst of the COVID lockdown in New York. Social isolation was at its peak, and my college roommates and I were confined to online classes and occasional parties. Looking back at my college years during COVID, it all feels like a surreal dream.

The moment that changed everything was when I made up my mind to move to Florida. I had been flying to Orlando a couple of times to visit my now-boyfriend and my high school best friend. During one of those visits, I attended a party and met a fantastic group of girls. One of them was from Nebraska, and she shared her journey of how she ended up at UCF. I expressed my desire to move but admitted I didn't know where to start or how to fund it. Her advice, given over a few drinks, was simple yet inspiring: carefully explore all your options, and if you truly want it, you can make it happen.

Drunk as I was, that conversation stuck with me. On my flight back home, I spent my time researching Florida colleges with social work programs for my master's degree.

I discussed this idea with my aunt, who lives in Florida, and she graciously offered me a place to stay. That sealed the deal for me.

Moving away from my hometown for college and, later, for this new chapter in Florida has been absolutely transformative in the best possible way.

I've encountered a diverse array of incredible people and lived through some amazing experiences. Along the way, I've made my share of mistakes and gained valuable life lessons.

Returning to my hometown, though, can be bittersweet. It often triggers memories of my late brother and the moments we shared. Sometimes, I'll be driving and suddenly recall a song we sang together or a holiday celebration. When my brother passed away, I returned to college and made a few trips back home. However, I've never truly lived at home since his passing. Part of me hesitated to return after college because it felt too emotionally challenging. I had been grieving, and I was accustomed to being in a different environment.

This was my way of grieving and coping with the rough mental challenges I faced. I don't believe that uprooting your life is the answer for everyone, but if your gut is urging you to seek something new, why not embrace the change?

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