Sunday, December 25, 2011


This is something I've been wanting to post about for a while now, but given the loss of Tommy's mother back in June and my father's health issues, and I have the time at the moment, I figured I would do it now, rather than later.

I've lost many friends, fifteen to be exact, that I was close to and some not so close. I've lost all four of my grandparents. As well as, 2 Uncles and a great Aunt this year alone. So suffice it to say, I know something about loss and grieving. I realize it is a different process for each individual. I know there are stages to mourning and coming to terms with a loss. I know there isn't a definite time frame for it to subside. All I can speak to is how the process went for me.

There is always the sadness, no matter how close or distant the person was to you, or for how long you may have known them. There is the sense of loss, that there is a place left empty in your life that they once filled. There is the time spent crying even after you think the process has long since ended. There are the flood of memories that seem to keep you on the edge of tears, sometimes for years. There are the times of the year that are associated with certain people. Certain places too. There are words, phrases, movies, commercials, songs, you name it, that will bring back memories and the sadness and that void will resurface. Honestly, I can say it never goes away. Ever. It will fade and become more infrequent as time passes. The profound sadness will slowly be replaced with comfortable melancholy followed by a warm, fuzzy feeling of nostalgia. But it never leaves you completely. Just as their lives ended, you begin to realize the impact they made on yours. The subtle things you remember. Their likes and dislikes, shared jokes, and all those memories you made together will suddenly have become like little life preservers. There when you need them the most in some event that you wish the person was present for and it will somehow seem ok again.

In my experiences, I cried a lot and often but mostly it was a deep feeling of loss. I cried till I had a headache. I cried till I ran out of tears. I cried till I fell asleep. I knew I had lost something special from my life. I had the feelings of anger and regret. The times you wanted to scream at their passing and then laugh uncontrollably at something you recall about a time shared. Mostly I got through it by talking about it to others. Sometimes even myself out loud at home. I wrote about it in a journal. I wrote poems. I didn't keep it in. I expressed it and shared it. In doing so, it helped the loneliness I felt, the bitterness at their departure and the constant reminder of those absences of those that passed. It helped clear the air in a way and certainly my mind. I was strong when needed but allowed myself the privilege of letting go and letting someone else help with the burden. It still took as long as it was going to take. No way that I know to speed that up.

With each death, I learned something new about myself and my relationship with that person. The most valuable lesson was how to live myself. I now take more pictures. Take more time for conversation. Take more time for anything that involves another person I'm close too. I learned how to be unselfish with myself because my friends and family need me, even for something as small as a quick conversation or a major project. I learned all to well you never know when it could be the last time you see them. It could be the last conversation you have with them or the last time you said hello or goodbye. I make more of an effort at maintaining friendships. I let a lot of things slide with friends that maybe I shouldn't, but they will never know. Friendships and family mean that much to me. I go the extra distance if need be. I don't want regrets for something I didn't do or say. (I had a few of those to deal with. ) I want to look back from now on and know I didn't stop living because they are gone. I truly live now after their passing in their honor. I try to make everyday count, no matter how small the scale may be. Everything matters to someone, sometime, somewhere, somehow, whether you are aware of it at that moment, whether you are in the mood for it. I didn't stop living, or put my life on hold to grieve. I carried on and did what I could and never let it stop me. It was just another item on my to do list. So if I can, I make the effort, regardless of my frame of mind or what ever else I may be personally dealing with. My friends and family are just that important to me. Someday that may very will be a defining moment in your friendship and one of your fondest memories when they are gone. Cause even in their passing, they never really leave you.


Java said...

Thought provoking post. I recognize some of these things in my experiences with loss. Thank you for sharing.

anne marie in philly said...

yes, there are certain times of the year when I miss a friend. or I'll hear a song. he's always there, in my head, in the mind back behind all the other bits.

TomS said...

Dave, thank you for this post.
My thoughts are with you as you contmplate those you miss, and those around you who are suffering.

Your words are comforting to one whose parents are both hospitalized. I send you a warm hug...

Ultra Dave said...

Sorry to hear about your parents Tom. I wish them well and you strength.

Ur-spo said...

that was a loving and thoughtful post.
Grief is the consequence of loving someone, the price to pay when they depart on us.

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