A lot has changed since my last post, people met, places seen, experiences had, and lives lost. Despite how young I am, I have lost a lot of loved ones be it family or friends. As I find others who also suffer loss in the most recent weeks, most recently being the families in Aurora, CO, I reflect on those that I have lost. All those adages we share “time will heal”, “they are in a better place”, “at least they did not suffer”, may be the first thing that comes to our minds, but only hold some truth.
My grandmother passed away after a prolonged hospitalization following a coronary artery bypass surgery about 10 years ago. In those years immediately following, the pain of her loss was the first thing that came to our minds. The painful memory made it difficult to make our peace with it, along with seeing my grandfather’s pain of missing her. Our peace with the it came after my grandfather passed away. Now, the memories that come back are happy ones, but there is still the constant reminder that you will never hear their voice again, see them laugh, or just experience that wonderful hug filled with love as you wrap your arms around your grandparents. With those memories those adages that are supposed to make you feel better really do not make any difference at all.
How do you take that and talk to other people who you realize are also going through the pain of losing a loved one? Well, you cannot tell them you know what they are going through. You have an idea of what loss is, but you do not know what they are going through. Their situation with that loved one is different, how that loved one was lost is different, and how they are dealing with the loss of a loved one is different from you. All you can do is be there to listen, be a shoulder to lean on, and just always remind them that you will be there for them.
NPR’s Steve Inskeep had a very thought provoking tweet(s) about the matter a few weeks ago:
“Just realized today is the anniversary of my father’s death. Love him dearly and his memory is still precious and fun for me. But not noticing the date until now lets me remind all who have suffered a loss: you will never ‘get over’ their loss. But one day, you realize it’s not the first thing you thought about that day, and your life goes on with their warmth inside of you.”
For all those who have suffered loss, for the families in Aurora, CO and for my dear friends who have suffered unimaginable loss in the last few weeks, I hope one day we can achieve the peace that Steve Inskeep describes above. Until then, thinking of you and thankful for all those that are still with us.