“Fortune brings in some boats that are not steered.” ~ William Shakespeare
One of the things I have learned in my travels to many places around the world remains a mystery to me. Why is the one taboo subject to Americans death?
I realize there are many sub-cultures within the USA. So with all due respect, I can only speak about the one in which I dwell. The white, middle to upper class, two family income, 2.5 children culture.
Why are we so afraid of death? Why are we so terrified of people who are going through a gut-wrenching loss of a loved one? Why do we suddenly stay away from that person– our friend– because they lost someone?
Sometimes those feelings of abandonment for the bereft person and awkwardness for their friends remain hanging over everyone involved for years. And much needed friendships are lost at the worst possible time. I guess until “time heals all wounds”. Unfortunately it doesn’t. Time doesn’t make it so people “get over it”, whatever that means.
“You will never “get over it”.
I guess people are afraid they will say the wrong thing. Well that’s okay. Maybe just come and sit with the person. If you don’t know what to say, don’t say anything. Silence is good. And so is crying.
I have been to many countries while working to help starving people. I have literally seen mothers wailing and tearing out chunks of their own hair beside the body of their little one who died of starvation in the night. And they were immediately surrounded by their family, extended family, friends, village — their entire tribe. I don’t think death is any easier for them than it is for us, but they seem to accept it as a natural part of life.
A friend of my husband also lost a teenage son. The way he described his life since was something like this: “The crushing blow is like carrying a backpack uphill filled with bricks. At first it’s so heavy you can hardly move. But as the years go by, even though you will always be wearing that pack and it will never be any lighter, you get used to it.” I suppose he meant the weight of the pack of bricks makes you stronger. I think he is right. But you have to decide to let it.
Succumbing to anger and bitterness is much easier. At least for me it was. Until I decided I didn’t want to be angry and bitter. I found myself in a bottomless pit. An abyss way larger than I could handle alone. Yet I had never felt more alienated and alone in my life.
I can only speak for myself and I realize this is a tender subject. But please do not act as if the lost loved one never existed.
It’s okay to talk about him with his Mom, Dad and twin sister. To talk with them about the things you loved about their son. The completely hilarious things he did and said. The totally annoying things he did that you now realize were jokes. Or just plain annoying.
It’s okay to laugh.
It’s okay to sit silently.
It’s okay to cry.
It is like a song
stuck in your head.
Its lyrics go on and on~
until you feel as if you’re dead.
I’ve heard that song for far, far too long.
Grief never ends
In its wake comes hollow loneliness,
for it has no friends.
It weeps alone.
A broken heart that never mends.
Grief is an open wound
If I let its jagged edges heal,
will its source be remembered?
Or will he feel forgotten?
As if he never lived,
never existed, and was never real?
Grief is a dark confusion
It causes false attachments,
an affectation of despair.
Any calculator who just happens to be there
can shred your heart apart,
pretending that they care.
Grief is the unanswered question
People are quick to judge, making speculations.
“This is God’s punishment for something.
There must be sin in her life.”
Never thinking of their own sinful inclinations;
their own rebellious strife.
For God owes no explanations.
Grief cannot be ignored
It must be walked through.
Rare is the friend who holds on~
standing faithfully beside you
as you are cut to the bone.
Grief is not a shame
When you have the courage to
walk that lonely, uphill path
with only Jesus beside you;
His love for you is tender.
You bear no shame nor blame.
You become His Princess.
You bring glory to His name.
~tricia woodworth 4/21/2016