Tag Archives: mourning

Not So Much Your Death, But More So Your Life

Not So Much Your Death, But More So Your Life
(An apology to a friend in Heaven)

 

I hug my son, tuck him into bed and kiss his forehead.
I wish him sweet dreams.
Then I think of how you can’t hug your son and tuck him into bed anymore.
How he sees you in his dreams and in his tears.
And I hold back my tears and my heartache.
And I wish that, instead, I would remember the hugs, the kisses and the dreams you had given.

I sort photos of my teenage daughter’s last birthday celebration.
I am in awe of how time has flown and how much she has grown.
Then I think of how you can’t celebrate your daughter’s birthdays anymore.
How she blows out her candles and blows away her sorrows.
And I hold back my tears and my heartache.
And I wish that, instead, I would remember the birthdays when you were there.

I shop for brush pens, card stock and such art supplies.
I want to learn hand lettering; I want to draw the beauty of words.
Then I think of how you won’t be making any more art.
How the walls of your home might be less colorful.
And I hold back my tears and my heartache.
And I wish that, instead, I would remember the lovely paintings and crafts you had made.

I stay in touch with our friends from all over.
We say hello; we share photos and stories; we reminisce.
Then we realize that you are not with us anymore.
How our friend is gone too painfully, gone too soon.
And we hold back our tears and our heartache.
And we wish that, instead, we would remember when you were with us.
When you welcomed us warmly into your home.
When you were always ready with smiles and kindness.
When you spoke softly yet with such conviction.
When times were good.
When the world was brighter.

Forgive me, my friend, for feeling more of my tears and my heartache.
Forgive me for thinking and thinking about your death.
When, instead, I should be remembering your joys and your gifts.
I should be thinking and thinking about your beautiful life.

summertime sadness

 

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Mourning the Loss of a Stranger

sadness and lonelynessI didn’t know Lorraine personally. I only knew of her through Facebook.  She was a very close friend of my cousins in California. When my cousins recently posted about a fundraiser for her, I learned a little bit about her story. She was a young woman who had gotten married in March this year. Just months after, she was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer. Using GiveForward.com, Lorraine’s family raised funds for her treatment and asked for support and prayers for the newlyweds.

Although I didn’t know her, I was quietly rooting for Lorraine. I wanted her and her husband to have a million ways to enjoy being young and happily married, and eventually being old and still happily married. I hoped and prayed that she would beat cancer and get back to her life with fierce determination and beautiful flair. I didn’t know her, but I would guess from all the kind words and lovely photos I saw that Lorraine was a woman with a big heart, a woman beloved and cherished by many.

Today, my heart broke a little when I saw the news of her passing. Just like how my heart broke a little when I heard the news of Robin Williams’ passing. I don’t know Lorraine beyond what her friends recently posted on social media, just like I don’t know Robin Williams beyond his works as an actor and comedian. But I do know that losing a loved one so suddenly, whether to cancer, to suicide or to something else, is painful beyond words.

Circumstances may be different and distances may be far and wide, but grieving the loss of loved ones brings people together in solidarity. We are heartbroken by the loss, but we also cherish the wonderful memories and we celebrate the lives of those who have gone before us. And we allow ourselves to grieve together, for family, for friends and for strangers.

 

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