A family friend passed away recently. Even though we hadn’t hung out regularly in recent years, this is a man I grew up with and treasured dearly. A cranky, burly, intimidating man with a heart the size of a grizzly bear! I loved him dearly.
The thing about death is that it’s hard to know how to do it right. As the grieving friends, and especially family, are you allowed to laugh and remember the good times? How soon? In public… or only in private? Are you required to be miserable for a set period of time? And on the other hand, are you expected to pretend that all is well after a certain amount of grieving… even if the true fact is that you are still devastated?
What do you say to someone who’s grieving? I wanted to reach out to the family right away… but I found myself at a loss for words. A simple, “I’m sorry” or an attempt at reassurance, “At least he’s not in pain anymore.” Or maybe it doesn’t matter what you say… just that you call. But then I tried to imagine that phone conversation… “Hello”… then what? Certainly not, “how are you?” or “how’s it going?” Loss is hard. It hurts a lot. There aren’t words to make it better.
Whatever you happen to believe about death… about what happens to people after they die… whether you believe they go to Heaven… or come back around… or if you just believe that they return to a greater source – the fact is, they’re good – it’s the living who are left behind that suffer. So I guess the best thing we can do is remember the good times as much as possible. Tell each other stories of the joy and laughter that was shared. I know for myself, reflecting on the happy memories makes me happier.
But that doesn’t make the hurt go away. It would be a very simplistic view to say that one should just think of the happy times and all would be well. There seems to be a hole in your heart when someone close to you passes. But since I believe that souls who’ve passed-on would want to see us happy, I will do my best to remember joyfully, smile often of the good times, and send a bouquet of love to my friend every time I think of him. Eventually, maybe our loved ones who’ve passed can help us fill that hole with love… cause love is really all that can ever truly fill us.
Love and laughter to those who have passed… and especially to those who are still hanging around. ~Rashel