Coping with Grief
Aaron says he felt like he was just going through the motions. "It didn't feel like life," he says. "It felt like I was just there."
Nate says he immediately recognized himself in Aaron. In December 2005, Nate and his partner, Fernando Bengoechea, were vacationing in Thailand when the Indian Ocean tsunami struck. Miraculously, Nate survived, but Fernando and 200,000 others lost their lives.
Nate says some days he didn't have the energy to get out of bed. "Nothing was important for a really long time," he says.
After seven or eight months, Nate says he started to feel guilty if he got excited about anything. "Family or a friend would come and stay with me, and I was so excited to see them," he says. "Then I'd think to myself, 'I don't really have the right to be excited because Fernando's still dead and I'm still not.'"
When Nate met Aaron and his family, he knew he was sent there to do more than just a business plan. "[Grief is] not a road that you just pass these landmarks and then eventually you're fine," he says. "I know that it's a road that you're on that some days you feel really strong and then some days you're back to, like, a complete horror. And I felt that in their house."