] Pondering: Dealing with Loss


December 23, 2005

Dealing with Loss

How do you cope with the loss of a loved one? Everyone deals with it differently that is a given. Is there a right or wrong way to grieve? I am not able to answer that either, as one thing might be right for one person but totally wrong for another. I've dealt with such losses at an early age. At one point I felt as if every weekend was spent in a funeral parlor watching my parents say goodbye to a friend or a family member. It left an impression on me because no one could explain to me the look on everyone's face. It was as if I was looking into their grief yet not fully comprehending the depth of such pain. Many years later I learned what that look meant when one of my brothers passed away.

The word pain is not nearly enough to fully describe what I was feeling. I know a part of me died when he died. I know I miss him terribly. I miss being na├»ve about mortality...did I need to learn this lesson? If I say I did, then why did my brother's loss have to be to the one to teach me? Honestly, I would have not preferred to have learned it at all. Since then I have lost two childhood friends and my oldest stepson. Each time the pain compounds almost to the point of not being able to breathe. So how do I cope with so much loss? I don't pressure myself in to rationalizing it for the most part. I cry and cry and cry some more. Eventually, I make sense of it all. I'll make a conscious choice to honor them by honoring my memories of them, the jokes they played on people or on me, their spirits filled with eagerness to conquer all they could, watching them fall, dust themselves off and pick themselves back up again, their dreams played out in front of me, their ability to make things so much better than what they found them, the light in their eyes when speaking of their favorite things...yes, I carry these memories where ever I go. When I hear a song that reminds me of one of them, I smile and am thankful for having had the wonderful opportunity to have had their presence in my life. One thing remains constant, their zest for life is often what reminds me of how fortunate I am to still have the opportunity to live my life to the fullest, to stay true to oneself and above all never take anyone for granted although I must confess 
there are times that on some of these I may not always succeed.

One relative called me cold once because I did not show emotion when they expected me to.  What they did not know at that time was that it took all the energy I had to stay calm or else I would have lost my mind. That is how painful loss is to me. It's not lack of emotion or fear of showing emotion. It is an overwhelming sensation that stems from every fiber of your being and containing it is the only choice for me when others are grieving at the same time. That was the look on everyone's face all those years ago. That's what I have managed to understand yet I close my eyes and wish it all away if I had only one wish to bring back those who I have loved and lost. So the next time when sharing with family and friends I'll look into their eyes and I'll capture their essence as if for the last time. I'll give them all the time I may have to give and I'll sleep calmly knowing that each of them knows how much they are loved and appreciated just for being exactly who they are.


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