Remembering . . . Can Be Inspiring

Remembering is painful, it’s difficult, but it can be inspiring and it can give wisdom.” ~Paul Greengrass

A friend of mine suffered what I believe is the absolute worst nightmare for a parent – losing your child. It’s been over 19 months for her, but her heartbreak and struggle continue even to this day. Three months ago, I, too, suffered a tragic loss; something that I never imagined.

Jean was the first person to reach out to me and provided the greatest gifts – a listening ear, words of comfort, empathy, the gift of her time. She invited me over for lunch. She let me cry on her shoulder without giving advice and instruction. She bought chicken soup over which we cried more and let grow cold. She disclosed that most friends and family eventually became weary of her grief funk and slowly distanced themselves from her. She confessed that she used to be “one of those people” – she avoided the griever because it was too uncomfortable — until it it happened to her.  Their tears continued, they didn’t smile even after months.  “Stop it already”, “be strong”, “get over it”, “get professional help” is all she could think.

She told me that well-meaning people want to fix you. Some will try to label your grief; after all, if it is correctly diagnosed, then there is a solution, right? Some psychiatrists and counselors have identified “stages of grief”; unfortunately, they aren’t linear. She told me you won’t move from one to the next in a nice step-by-step process. Or like C.S. Lewis describes “am I going in circles, or dare I hope that I’m on a spiral? But if a spiral, am I going up or down?”

She shared that the one and only thing she wants to do is talk about her son. She wants to tell everyone she meets about her son. She wants to remember all 28 years of his short life. Despite the pain that remembering brings, it provides comfort to share because she remembers the beautiful person he was while he was here. She told me that some choose to forget or not acknowledge because it’s less painful for them – “out of sight, out of mind”.

I am experiencing everything she shared with me like it’s a well-scripted play. Like her, remembering John is not an option; it’s a conscious choice. I remember my gorgeous husband, my friend, my companion and my soul mate. I remember because we were blessed with 20 wonderful years together; to not remember means these years didn’t exist. I remember the beautiful memories we created together which motivate me to write. I write because I promised to share our love story. Eventually, I will share our story because we want to inspire others to pursue their dreams and make them reality.

My request, if you have read this post, is that you develop empathy, not unresponsiveness.  The greatest gifts you can provide to someone like me and my friend are a listening ear, words of comfort, empathy and the gift of your time.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Norma
    Oct 28, 2015 @ 22:31:47

    At the recent funeral of their 7-yr old son, Casey, the dad, and Shandia, the mom, said to the congregants that it will be welcome for people to talk to them freely about their bright and mischievous child everyday, any day, because they do not want any recollection to go missed by them regarding their child. They want to remember his laughter and pranks and his winning personality, even as a little kid, and what that brightness meant to everyone else who loved the little guy. Even in the shocking circumstances of their grief, they knew exactly what you are talking about. And maybe those who are reluctant to open a conversation about the one who is no longer of this earthly being will be better able to open up and share in a positive and meaningful way. The loss of a spouse or a child or a dear friend is so difficult, but knowing that others have some similar feelings of grief and can still laugh about fun, old memories must be quite a blessing. As difficult as it is to broach to the grieving the subject of their loss, maybe this discussion will help make those conversations of memories more approachable. I am sure that the writing of your memories and your publishing them will be both inspiring and uplifting.

    Reply

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