In the past 2 months, I have literally lost count of the number of people I know or have heard about, who have passed away- From the sudden passing of my uncle (gone in 3 days at the age of 54), to a wonderful woman who taught me marathi and is a grandmother of two, to a close friend’s sister (who was larger than life and has 2 young boys- I can’t believe she is no longer physically present), and a good friend’s dad- and these are just 4 people I know of directly. Added to that I have heard of 3 more people through people I know… who have passed on and it hasn’t even been 60 days since the first- my maternal uncle.
When you start to think of it, it’s difficult to come to terms that a person who you were talking to a few days ago, is no longer a phone call or a text message away. It breaks my heart, not just for them but for the loved ones left behind. My questions to God don’t cease to end- and I am reminded of my dear grandmother’s passing in January 2009. More than six years later, I haven’t been able to come to terms with it. I dream of her ever so often, and still wake up in tears.
People would say all kind of things to me but it felt like a dream- this woman who was by my side- day in and day out is no more. There were so many things I wanted to say to her. I remember some of her last words to me- and I desperately try to live by it. I remember she was in hospital and all I could do was pray that she makes it, beg God to keep her alive. My cousins wife who I hold very dear said to me one day ‘Let her go- maybe she wants to go and be with her husband and Jesus’. That evening, I told the Lord that he could do whatever he wanted, I just didn’t want her to be in pain. Sure enough she passed away soon after (think it was the next day).
I comprised a list of 5 things loved ones who are left behind do not want to hear:
- Time will heal: Yes time is a healer. But if you have lost anyone you know that these words mean nothing- absolutely nothing. At that point time just stands still. Everything is so unreal.
- He/she is in a better place: Yes all of us believers in creationism, we know that the person is no more physically present and is present in spirit- is looking down upon us or dancing up there with Jesus. But really- when it’s fresh- the pain is raw and physical. Having to hear that really does not help. You want that person with you, by your side at that very moment.
- It’s ok you can cry/ stay strong don’t cry: Yes we know we can cry or that we must stay strong for another individual. If a person needs to cry- not crying and holding it in is not going to help- maybe they need to cry too you know- in the privacy of their own rooms. You do not need to give your advice. So also if you know someone who hasn’t shed a tear- Let them be- Each person has different ways of dealing with loss- as long as they are not abusing themselves or others in any way.
- It will be ok: Will it really? Their absence will forever leave a void in our hearts. Stop it- it’s never going to be okay.
- I know someone in a similar situation (Comparing)– Please don’t ever ever do that. you may know a 100 people in similar situations, you yourself may have been bereft and grieving in the past- but each circumstance- each situation is different. Just don’t try to tell party A how party B got through it and is partying all night long after a year. No one needs to or wants to hear that.
What you can do is give them a hug, your love- and be there for them in any way you can. Maybe just be their sounding board, be someone they can talk to or be their shoulder to cry on. Offer to help out- be it assistance in babysitting, or procuring requisite documentation. If it’s a colleague- help by reducing his/her workload. So many little ways that make a bigger difference than words coming out of the mouth.
The passing away of so many near and dear ones in the last 2 months- hit home- we do not live forever. Make that one phone call you have been meaning to, fly halfway across the world to see that one individual. Life is too short, with no guarantee for tomorrow. Live each day, breathe, smell the roses, enjoy the rain, cry, rave or rant…. it’s just the circle of life.
P.S. Please feel free to share this post with someone who you think may need it.