Here is one of the worst things about having someone you love die:
It happens again every single morning.
With the upcoming anniversaries of the deaths of both my mother and my best friend a few years ago, I have found myself ruminating on the concept of death, of grief and mourning. I had planned out a week of posts for the Tao of Maud project to coincide with the anniversary of her passing. I figured I was ready to move on.
Life has a knack for laughing at our plans, as if some mischevious spirit decided to ball them up and say, “Not for you. I have something special planned instead.”
Dean Stefan’s passing Tuesday (I wrote about it here) caught me off-guard in some ways. While Dean did have a heart attack, I thought he was on the road to recovery. He was going to make it. It’s like the plot of a story where you don’t get the payoff. You feel cheated. We didn’t get our happy ending.
Dean was close to my age and had a daughter who graduated from college just last summer. I am off to see my daughter graduate from college this weekend. The parallel is disquieting. I admit I am losing sleep over the thought.
My writer friend who first introduced us was much closer to Dean. This hit her pretty hard, and she said she was having a hard time processing it. In true Tao of Maud fashion, I relied on the wisdom of others in an attempt to craft a message that might bring her some comfort in this time.
I’ve decided to post the majority of it here on the blog, with the hope that someday someone may also find some peace from it along the way as well. As I note, the wisdom is from smarter people than myself. I just gather and pass it along.
Know that you are never promised another moment beyond this one, so cherish it and the people with you on your journey through it, my friends. Be well. Namaste.
As promised, here are some thoughts from people a lot wiser than I could ever hope to be. I found these when researching the topic of grief for what I would use on the Tao of Maud later this month and for how I am processing it myself – more on that in a bit.
First, about the shock and pain. This will hurt:
Here is one of the worst things about having someone you love die: It happens again every single morning.
― Anna Quindlen, Every Last One
The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.
— Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
But then, we also begin to see there is a reason behind that pain…
Grief is the price we pay for love.
– Queen Elizabeth II
All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time.
– Mitch Albom
So we begin to find a way out of grief. How? It’s tough. C.S Lewis had it right…
No one ever told me grief felt so much like fear.
– C. S. Lewis
Only time and tears take away grief; that is what they are for.
– Terry Pratchett
And know it’s never a straight path as we process these things.
You think you’ve accepted that someone is out of your life, that you’ve grieved and it’s over, and then bam. One little thing, and you feel like you’ve lost that person all over again.
– Rachel Hawkins
But you will learn something, both about them and yourself…
The greatest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude.
– Thornton Wilder
Death ends a life, not a relationship.
– Mitch Albom
In the end, our love for this person overcomes our grief. We remember not how they died, but how they lived.
Remember my own processing? I am coming up on a pair of anniversaries. I lost my best friend five years ago in early July. I lost my mother two years ago on the 1st of June. In each case, their final words to me were the same: “It will be all right.” And in a way, it has been.
Do I miss them? Sure. Every single day. I’m sure it will be the same with Dean. But he chose to live life as Mark Twain suggested:
Let us endeavor to live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
— Mark Twain
You’re terrific, my friend. I know Dean was so proud to work with you, to have been there throughout your career, and to call you friend. He is missed, but he is loved, and he will be remembered.
Be well. Hug your family and say a prayer for Dean’s tonight, as well as anyone else you hold dear in your heart. Know I keep you and yours in my thoughts as well.