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Posts Tagged ‘death’

An intern at work passed away unexpectedly this weekend. I didn’t know him or work directly with him, but I know what his family is going through and it brought to mind my own experiences with grief and loss. The people who reached out in sympathy and support… and the people who did not.

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People seem to have a difficult time nowadays comiserating with a friend or co-worker when they’ve lost a loved one. They tell themselves they don’t want to be a bother, that bringing it up will cause further pain. They talk themselves out of going to the viewing, or the funeral, or the memorial service because they didn’t really know the person who passed away, and that surely such a thing is only for immediate friends and family of the deceased.

All of that is nonsense.

While the viewing, funeral, and memorial service are for paying your respects to the deceased, they are also for paying your respects to the survivors. With this death, your friend or co-worker has one less person in the world who cares about them and that hurts. Most of the joys in life are about human connections and the people you love and who love you, so when one of those connections end there’s a huge hole that cannot be refilled. If you reach out to support them in this difficult time, with some kind words or better yet your presence at one of the services, you reaffirm your own connection with them and let them know you care about them. You’re still there.

Life is a wonderful gift, but pain and grief are the price of admission. Friendship and compassion can help make the highs even higher while making the lows easier to bear. Don’t talk yourself out of reaching out to a connection in your life in their time of loss. Let them know that while they may have lost someone, there are still people in the world who care and you’re one of them.

What do you think?

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Words for Dad

When it started to become clear that Dad was not going to be making it out of the hospital, I left for a little while to go to work.  On the drive in, I started thinking about his funeral.  I’m a very emotional guy, and when I go to funerals tears flow freely and I get choked up.  Often at funerals there’s a time where people can stand up and say a few words about the dearly departed.  Many times there were words I wanted to say, thoughts I wanted to express, but then my throat would catch and the tears would flow and I’d remain rooted to the seat and the thoughts would remain in my mind.  I just knew that if I stood up to try and say something I’d just start sobbing and be unable to string together a coherent thought.

I knew that no one would expect me to get up and speak at my father’s funeral… and yet, at my core I’m a writer, and words are what I do– they’re as much a part of me as my arms and legs.  I felt that I had to put together words to eulogize Dad and I wanted to try and share them with family and his friends.  I know that I could have simply printed it out and handed it to people to read, but that seemed like the easy way out.  You only get one chance to say your final goodbye to your father, and speaking the words I wrote was the best way I could think to do it.

I printed it out in large font, front and back, stocked up on quite a few tissues, and went on up.  I know reading from a sheet of paper doesn’t make for the best public speaking, but I figured it would help keep me focused and keep me from choking up.  I did try and look up some during the eulogy, and I somehow managed to make it through, in large part I think because I did my best to inject some humor into the words to battle back the tears.  Everyone seemed to love what I had to say, and that made me even more happy with the decision to speak.

I’ve got the entirety of the eulogy behind the cut.

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Paradigm Shift

Sorry I’ve been away for a while… My father passed away August 19 and it rocked my world in quite a few different ways.  There was the expected– the mourning of missed opportunities, the would-ofs and should-ofs.  Without going too deep into it now, my relationship with my Dad was a rocky one with some real low points and long stretches of time without too much contact between us.  Luckily, we had some great connections shortly before he passed and, while I mourn not being able to build upon that as I had hoped and planned, I’m glad that we had at least begun to rebuild.

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