The phone rang yesterday morning and it was a friend of mine…her mother had died unexpectedly in the middle of the night…I just kept saying over and over “Oh my God” and then I started to cry. My friend said she loved me for that…she has a hard time with emotions and it is difficult for her to ask for help or support…my greatest gift to her has always been to express whatever is there…
I talked with her for a long time and I told her that people would say a lot of different things to her over the next days and weeks…most of it kind but meaningless as the majority of folks can’t handle death and they will do whatever they can to avoid it…those are the people that say things like, “she is in a better place now”. Those of us that have experienced death and not run away from it will tell her the truth…it is horrible, there is nothing more awful, you will have some very dark days and then the shock will fade some and the tears will come less frequently and you will get up and move through your days…you will laugh again and you will be less sad, however there will not be one day that you don’t miss the person you have lost and there will be some days where it seems again unbearable.
In the midst of it all if you are a fully functioning person there will be laughter mixed with your tears, there will be some anger at the loss, some “this isn’t fair” conversations in your head, some doubt of God’s plan…however those of us that have faith in something bigger than ourselves trust that life has a natural order to it and that things happen as they should even if we don’t agree.
Mostly people suffer greatly from a death when they are incomplete with the person that died…when they are still holding a grudge or the last words they had were in anger or they didn’t say that “I love you”…or they didn’t call enough or visit enough…or take time enough to tell people what a gift they are. Those are the undelivered communications that bring you to your knees when someone leaves in an untimely and unexpected fashion. Undelivered communications are what guilt and remorse are made of, I don’t recommend them. I was taught at an early age to be complete in every moment…for some people close to me that means an “I love you” almost every time we speak…I think they tire of that, but I don’t care much because I know that if anything out of the ordinary happens I have delivered my message.
Walking my friend through her initial shock jerked me back to when my grandfather died…that is another reason people don’t deal well with the news of death because it causes them to momentarily relive whatever loss they have experienced and for some folks that is an unbearable thought. People do strange things with death…which is funny because we are all going to leave this planet one day, one way or another…so it seems like there should be less fear and more acceptance.
People might leave this place, however the people that we love are never, ever gone…they are as alive as we make them. My grandfather’s pictures are on my bedroom wall, in my hallway and on my desk…I think of him every day and often I can hear his voice in my head still advising me…and I am confident that he has sent certain people into my life to keep his watch…there are pieces of advice that he gave me that continue to shape my life…so for me he is still very much present.
Granted there are several people that I feel like I couldn’t live without, yet I don’t live in fear of them dying…life has a way of taking care of us if we let it…however we have to let it, which means a certain amount of trust in the process must be present…for many of us this isn’t the case.
Fear comes from thinking thoughts that scare you…you always have a choice…you can choose to think about things that keep you moving forward or you can choose to think about things that stop you.
I highly encourage you to choose to deliver your undelivered communications—unfinished business is bad mojo especially when people die unexpectedly…
Tell people how important they are to you all the time…tell them how they have contributed to you…tell them that you love them…forgive people for whatever harm you think they caused you, walking around holding grudges will only make you sick and depressed…that kind of stuff will suck the life right out of you.
Like it or not folks we are just here for a visit…seems to me we should be filled with gratitude for lives well lived and make the best of it and we should make it our business to make the best of it for other people too…it is always better to give…