For anyone who has lived through the loss of multiple loved ones, I would venture a guess that the emotion they experience grows more intense as time goes forward. I reflect on this as I prepare to say “goodbye” to a dear friend – a man well along in years and yet vibrant in spirit to the end.
The words continue to roll up my mind, “I am sad, like it’s happening all over again.” From my work I have learned that grief is cumulative. Today the reserve holding my grief feels as if it could overflow. I am sorry for this gentle man’s death. Even though I knew he was becoming weaker and beginning to surrender his quality of life, it was difficult to let him go. His daughter, Beth, was my best friend and companion. We traveled the road together for many years sharing interests in the work of spirit and health and valuing the love of family. Her death came unexpected and too early. I painfully experienced the grief of her loss and watched many others do the same, including this man, Bill – her father.
“I am sad, like it is happening all over again.” I imagine grief’s well deep and filled with soft, thick cushion. It protects from injury–it helps to carry painful sadness when it cannot be carried alone.
As a priest I am aware that death is not the end. We profess to believe that life’s richness continues beyond the grave. So with confidence I know, Bill is once again with his beloved daughter, catching up on all the news and feelings – saved for sharing since they were separated by her untimely death.
The well of grief is deep but never filled with darkness. Within it rises the bright light of spirit–within it stirs the song of creation. The more years added to life, the more opportunities we are given to stand near grief’s well–receiving its comfort and finding strength from its light and song. May we remember to offer peace when others join in this journey .