On loss, and love...
How do you help someone going through immeasurable grief?
Beyond our own personal experience on the subject, everyone experiences grief differently. Each of us have our own way of handling the pain of loss. When you lose someone you love, it feels as though part of you has been violently ripped out of your body. It's different from the loss of someone from a break up or divorce. Loss of a loved one by death is possibly one of the most paralizing feelings in the world. It leaves you breathless, and aching, and questioning why. We blame ourselves, we blame God, we blame other people for not seeing it coming. We rage until our bodies can no longer sustain, and then we weep. We greave until we reluctantly drag ourselves into acceptance. Not that we "accept" the situation, we accept that this is life, now. We accept that there is nothing our broken hearts can do to change the clocks, to turn back time. And after this very long period of grief and acceptance - we begin to heal. Parts of us, bit by bit - tiny pieces - start to mend. We'll never be whole again, not as we were. But we heal. Our hearts will love again. Our mind will shove away those thoughts of self damnation. A glimmer of who we are starts to shine.
A little over a year ago (January 2014) a friend from high school that I met through an exchange program with one of my neighboring schools committed suicide. Clue was... one of the most infectiously happy people you could ever meet. He was kind, and gentle, and talented. And there was a darkness in him that he felt he could not escape. No one knew, not one person. Not one person in a city, where to know Clue was to love him, saw this coming. And the after math... the shock, the fear, the grief... Then, the togetherness, the bond, the coming together that his life (and his death) inspired was something to behold. People flocked from states away, to remember a man that brought so much LIFE to their lives.
I remember that pain when I learned of Clue's passing. I remember laughing at the good memories. I remember crying because he was gone. I remember that there wasn't a single thing that anyone could have said or done that would have changed how I handled the mourning process. It's simply something one has to go through.
But, now being on the other end of it - I understand that desire and need to help someone I love very much to not suffer alone. She's lost her love. And I so want to lessen her pain in some way.
I didn't have the pleasure of meeting Craig. I saw their posts, and smiled at how happy my friend was with her new found flame. I was happy she was happy. And they look so happy. His smile was radiant, and they were a beautiful couple. And behind that beautiful smile was a world of pain. How do I tell my friend that there was positively nothing she could have done? His choice was not her fault. When a person is in that much pain, and they finalize their decision to either deal with the pain or end it - there is little the outside world can do to change their decision. He is free from the pain that haunted him. And in his wake, he's left a trail blaze of broken hearts and questions. It's not fair, and it's not easy, and it's not ok. No one will ever be ok with someone's choice to end pain in this way. But, in time, there is acceptance.
Yesterday I found something that made perfect sense, especially now. It's two words, really. Just Today. It's simple, and profound, and so completely true. Matthew 6:34 says "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." Just Today means to make it through that moment. Take care of the things that need to be done that day. Just today, find something to be thankful for. Just Today applies to so many things that people may not even realize. Addictions, struggles with depressions... stress. Those who are also mourning the loss of a loved one. Those who want to be more in the here and now. Tomorrow is promised to no one. We have Just Today.
II. Parting and Absence
“We parted in silence”
Louisa Macartney Crawford (1790–1858)
WE parted in silence, we parted by night,
On the banks of that lonely river;
Where the fragrant limes their boughs unite,
We met—and we parted forever!
The night-bird sung, and the stars above
Told many a touching story,
Of friends long passed to the kingdom of love,
Where the soul wears its mantle of glory.
We parted in silence,—our cheeks were wet
With the tears that were past controlling;
We vowed we would never, no, never forget,
And those vows at the time were consoling;
But those lips that echoed the sounds of mine
Are as cold as that lonely river;
And that eye, that beautiful spirit’s shrine,
Has shrouded its fires forever.
And now on the midnight sky I look,
And my heart grows full of weeping;
Each star is to me a sealèd book,
Some tale of that loved one keeping.
We parted in silence,—we parted in tears,
On the banks of that lonely river:
But the odor and bloom of those bygone years
Shall hang o’er its waters forever.
There is a song by Trisha Yearwood, "I would've loved you anyway", that I really believe people who have gone through some type of loss should listen to at least one time in their life. We can't live life in a bubble, protecting ourselves from the very nature of life. We live, and we die. But would we change those fleeting moments of happiness to protect ourselves from the pain that could come?
"If I'd've known the way that this would end
If I'd've read the last page first
If I'd've had the strength to walk away
If I'd've known how this would hurt...
I would've loved you anyway
I'd do it all the same
Not a second I would change
Not a touch that I would trade
Had I known my heart would break
I'd've loved you anyway
It's bittersweet to look back now
At mem'ries withered on the vine
But just to hold you close to me
For a moment in time...
And even if I'd seen it coming
You'd still've seen me running
Straight into your arms..."
Where ever you are right now, Cheryl - BJ and I are sending you our love, our thoughts, our prayers. We share in your sadness, and when you are ready, we are here. Even if it is to just hold your hand, sit in silence, and cry with you. We love you very much.