Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cataclysmic events

There is no 'good time' to experience the loss of a family member or loved one. For a Christian, this time of year is perhaps the worst. Around Easter, because of our belief that Christ lived and then died for our sins and subsequently rose from the dead in both triumph and humility, we have the hope that our loved one is with the Heavenly Father.

I cannot speak for those of other faiths or those with no 'faith' at all except in the here and now and what they can actually see and put their hands on. I can only write from my perspective.

It doesn't matter whether or not you might have been 'hoping' that your dear one's suffering might end. Perhaps your beloved was in a terrible accident and your loss was sudden and particularly shocking. Perhaps the person died and it was only after his/her death that you realized how much this person meant to you. Perhaps you had some sort of 'closure'. It really doesn't matter.

The fact is that your dear one is no longer with you here on earth except in your memories and in your heart.

The grieving process is described eloquently, yet succinctly, in a seemingly insignificant little paperback book, "How to Survive the Loss of a Love", which includes some poems and little snippets of added thoughts that you might not find elsewhere.

I have - somewhere around this house - what is now probably a terribly dog-eared copy of this book with pages highlighted with different colored markers, depending on which loss I was experiencing at the time.

In my post "Loss and feelings" - published December 11th, I attempted to address this convoluted and often most elusive of subjects.

I used the words "maelstrom" and "whirl" to try and describe some of the emotions one feels after experiencing such a loss and how they threaten to overtake, overwhelm, and even interfere with our everyday functioning. I spoke briefly about how one will - eventually - assimilate all of these feelings and experiences into a new definition of 'normality'.

I could have used the word "morass" or even several others, I'm sure, to illustrate the helplessness and inadequacy one feels.

What's my point? Well, I guess I have only one ... ...

Unless you have experienced a significant loss in your own life, you really have not the vaguest idea of what another person is going through, emotionally. Even then, I venture to say, you are not that other person and so you still do not 'know' - nor will you ever! - what they are going through. The very best that you can do is listen, to try and provide a 'sounding board', as it were.

There's a wonderful little saying from that book that I'd like to quote for you. "I sat evaluating myself. I decided to lie down."

My friend sat evaluating and then decided to lie down.

Once again, I ask that you send your most heartfelt thoughts and prayers my friend's way.

1 comment:

whalechaser said...

You are right...there is nothing one can do but listen and perhaps be there for the suffering one. Ah...yes...being there is definitely a help. It may not seem like much but it is. and yes, no one knows, really knows, but the sufferer. I pray things turn out as planned by God. All we can do is accept.