When I was in my early twenties, a very close friend passed away suddenly. In an instant, my world was destroyed, and I knew in that moment, that my life would never be the same again. From that day forward, for the rest of my life, I would never see him again.
After the shock, came the wave of grief, which lasted for days, then weeks. I had peace in sleep, but a split second after waking, the realization that he was gone struck again, and again, and again each day. I was going through the motions, but saw no purpose, and felt at times numb and at times overwhelmed with sadness.
You can find wisdom in the oddest places.
Close friends and family tried to offer advice, but none of it was of much help. I met a new friend, and in a short while, told him all about the friend I had lost and was missing so terribly.
He said, “He sounds like he was an amazing person. I wish I could have met him.”
I then realized how selfish I had been. I had been questioning God as to why he would take someone so young, why he would take such a great person. I should have been grateful. Of all the billions of people in the world, I had been fortunate enough to be given a chance not only to meet, but to love that person.
If his life were only to be 30 years, he was here so briefly, and I had the honor of knowing him for 10 of those years. No one who hadn’t had the chance before would ever get to meet him. Inside my heart, I shifted from feeling broken to feeling humbled.
I knew also that if I had died and not him, I wouldn’t want him to be sad for even one day. I was dishonoring his memory by feeling sorry for myself. I was not doing what I would want him to do.
I found a way to ease the pain was to be good and appreciate everyone in my life who is still here as much as I possibly can. We don’t know when our time is up. We need to be good to each other so that one day, when one of us passes, the other will not have any regret or guilt about not treating the other better when they had the chance.
Even when you go through the stages of grief, when you understand that you were fortunate to have had them in your life, when you realize that they always live in your heart, you still miss their presence. You still miss being able to see their face and give them a hug and laugh with them.
You are left with a giant mass of love, and nowhere to direct it. You have to direct it into other people. The person you love, you will always love, but they are not ever again going to be able to be as they were when they were here.
To give that love to another person, or other people, you should not feel guilty or that you’re replacing them. You’re not. No one can replace them. You should never feel bad about laughing or not thinking of them for a day or two. They would want you to live and love and laugh again.
When people lose someone to a disease, many times, they get involved with a charity or even start one that is attempting to eliminate that disease. This is incredible therapy. To be able to join with others, and to be able to be part of something that someday may spare someone else that pain…that is a worthy goal to direct your love to.
I had a series of dreams, coincidences, and signs that let me know in no uncertain terms that although he had died, he was not truly gone. Those all brought me a lot of peace.
I do believe they stay with us, watch over us, and try to give us strength and signs that we shouldn’t be sad, not even for one more day. They love us. They want to see us happy. They cannot come back and console us, and that must be so very painful for them as well.
Grief has no time limits. No one should feel they have to rush or get themselves together, or do anything that is not true to their heart. Losing a loved one is the most difficult thing in life to get through. But it is possible. You are still here for a reason, and that reason is not to endure the rest of your life in pain. Use the rest of your life to love and ease the pain of others. You may always feel as though a piece of your heart is missing, and it is, but the rest of your heart is still there. Make good use of it.
I saw a quote in the past few months from Dr. Seuss…again, you can find wisdom in the oddest places!
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”