To my friends who have recently lost loved ones

Recently, I have had several friends lose a loved one, and as part of my own grieving process, I wrote the following one day during writing time with my students. Thought I would share…

Unfortunately, we all have to face lost of a loved one-a child, a friend, a sibling, a parent, a grandparent, a spouse, or someone else. I guess the pain one feels at such a loss might be different depending on the relationship, but I don’t know that it really matters. Pain is pain. Loss is loss.

I haven’t lost as many as some, but have lost. There isn’t anything I can say to take the pain go away, but I can share some of how I have felt and what I have learned. Pure and simple, the pain is real, and the pain hurts.

So, what do I want you to know?

1. People don’t always know what to say, so they say the wrong thing or nothing at all. All I could do is shake my head sometimes.
2. The pain doesn’t totally fade—it lessens but doesn’t totally disappear. And, as my dad says, you don’t want to it to. The pain reminds us of the special person we loved.
3. The first year of first is the hardest because the empty chair or the missing phone call screams its presence. After the first year, I was able to remember the fun and special times. The conversation shifted from the loss to our memories.
4. Sometimes, sadness will hit at the strangest time. For me, it is when I am driving or I see a particular flower.
5. Besides the personal loss I felt, one of the hardest things to do was watching other loved ones grieve and not feeling like I was able to do anything at all. Eventually, I realized that all of us had to grieve in our own way and that I had to allow myself to be okay with not figuring IT out for everyone.
6. Eventually, you’ll find comfort in strange, ordinary things—a song, a special chair, a photograph, or even a fried egg sandwich.

Most importantly, remember that there are others around you who love you and care about you. Remember that your loved one would want you to continue to live life to its fullest, to explore, to grow, to take risks, to love, to laugh, and to, eventually, be happy. We are supposed to grieve and be sad when after a loss; however, we honor our loved ones by living.

I hate that you have to go through this now. We are never ready for this. Know that you are loved and that you will be okay.

If you ever need anything, please let me know. I can’t do much, but I can talk or just sit beside you.

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