Lost a friend last week. A former co-worker. Unexpectedly.
Death. Is there anything more mysterious or more dreaded? We don’t want to think about it, talk about it, deal with it nor feel its sting.
As painful as it is and it always is — oh, the lessons it can teach!
When you hear “the news” about someone you care about — it puts you immediately back into the present. Priorities shuffle themselves back into line. Who cares that the boss is an idiot or someone insulted you or that Trump is a constant international embarrassment — you realize what is truly important. Family — home — friends — peace of mind.
That is what should consume us.
A lesson I learned as a child was when it comes to a funeral, wake, celebration of life — do not question whether you should. GO!
Nobody cares that you don’t know what to say. Nobody knows what to say. Nobody likes a funeral — It’s hard, emotional, scary, and awkward. I don’t care — go anyway!
Your presence is the gift. The person with the broken heart will never forget you were there.
I also learned after this most recent service that I should have asked more questions. I learned so much about this friend — it was as if I had not known him at all — my loss.
I regret not finding out more about this person and not settling for a casual co-worker relationship. It got me thinking that especially with so many of our friends being Facebook friends I need to do a better job of finding out 'who are you really?', 'where do you work?', 'what do you love?', 'what makes you tick?'
We do a lot of texting and liking and reacting but are we actually communicating? I need to do a better job. Lesson learned.
When you are at your weakest — a strange other worldly strength is going to kick in. It will be as if angels lift you at the very moment when you think you will crumble. One of my proudest moments — well, two — was working with my sister organizing and planning the perfect send-offs for our parents.
I will never forget my brother-in-law saying to us “I was amazed at how you girls just went to work to find ways to honour your parent."
That’s what you do for family. By the time those services were over, I wanted everyone to know exactly who my mom and dad were. It was a mission. It was our final gift to give.
I have none of the answers as to what is best to do in a time of great sorrow.
It has been my experience, though, that people want to do something and you should let them. That’s why there will be a houseful of casseroles. People want to help. Let them.
Some of the nicest gifts we got were gift cards for restaurants so we didn’t have to cook and a roll of postage stamps for the thank-you cards we would be sending out. Practical, helpful.
Most everyone makes a donation to the person’s charity of choice at the time of the passing. My advice is don’t forget the person who is left.
Weeks later, months later, on the occasion of the first birthday, anniversary, Christmas — send a note, make the call, send the gift. Three weeks from Tuesday will be equally as painful as the one when your loved one died.
Watch for the messages! If you are a spiritual person or believe in signs — get ready. You are going to see, hear and find messages from Heaven if you are open. Feathers, coins, rainbows — they are going to keep you going.
My last lesson and this may seem weird but talk about the person who died. Include them in your daily life just as you always did. Quote them. Talk to them if you feel like it. Don’t avoid mentioning their name. Why would you? You miss them. You love them.
The same is true when you meet up with the person’s family. They are always thinking about their lost loved one. You won’t upset them because they are already upset. Talk about them. Talk some more. Memories are tremendously healing.
Sing their praises even when your voice is shaking — especially then.