On loss

When someone dies, little bits of them are left behind. Whether this is their hairbrush and cosmetics and clothes, their ties and aftershave, or such heartbreaking items as their favorite toys and tiny outfits.

I’ve not lost much, so far. Compared to what though. Who?You can’t calculate how much one person is missed over another, and either way it doesn’t really matter. 

Loss is loss. It is tragic and unfair. It is frightening. Until someone who is close to you dies, I don’t think a person really realizes how death will affect them.

There are stages of grief, just as there are stages of life. Seasons. Sometimes grief is gentle, and others it is violent and stormy.

Some days there are happy memories, and the realization that they are gone is the thought that jars you back to the present moment.

Other days, a memento brings you to your knees in tears.

There is fear, because they are gone forever. And there is the unknown, because even though we want to have faith and believe, we can never be sure.
It’s easy for me to discount my grief. I tell myself she had so many good years, she knew she was loved, she’s not in pain now, but the thought of never getting to see her again, never having her ask me what I’ve been reading…or the experiences. I visited Chicago with my sisters recently and it hurts like hell to remember trips from my childhood, going to the same destination.

I drive past her house, and wish I could knock on the door and she would open it. I’ve called her phone number, wondering what would meet my ears on the other end.

And then there is my unacknowledged grief. I avoid it, because I honestly don’t know what to do with it. How to miss someone you never knew? How to come to terms with that. How to not feel personally offended by the fact that they obviously never wanted to meet you. 

I cry uncertain tears over this, because I know I missed meeting a remarkable person. And I think of the person he was and how he lived. And how his death affected more than just me, and in much broader, more heart aching ways.

It’s hard for my brain to handle. To believe these beings, souls, bodies are no longer walking this earth. 

And I think of how her sisters and brothers lost their sister. How her children lost a mother. How his children lost a father. How that would feel. 

How it would feel if I lost one of them now. How my sister and brother in law have lost someone too soon. How their children live without a brother. How all of my in laws are missing a father, a nephew, a grandson. How sad and heavy that is, how it weighs on hearts.

And there are no words. It’s almost sacred. I’m afraid to say anything too bold about loss because I fear I will shatter like glass.

 I fear they will shatter like glass.

Everyone has lost somebody. I know I am not alone.

Grief and loss are both powerful and frightening things. It’s not easy to feel the feelings and emotions to deal with, and move on from the death of someone beloved.

You have to learn a new way of living. For me, the pain isn’t as raw anymore, but it is still there. It always will be.

Love to those with new wounds, those who are trying to come to terms and are still in the thick of it.

Love to you whose loss is not fresh, but whose pain still may be. The initial shock may be past, but everyday life is unavoidable, and time passes on.

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