Acknowledging Loss

Flower_Oct_arrangements002 This post is by Kerry.

Recently, I saw a tribute on Facebook from a woman that was running a marathon in honor of her daughter that had succumbed to cancer several years ago.  She was someone I knew in college, so my friendship with her was “com. out” between the time we graduated and the time Mr. Zuckerburg got his social media thing rolling.  I didn’t know about her tragic loss.

I often contribute to friend’s requests for charitable donations online.  It’s usually pretty painless and we set aside a certain amount of money each year for donations anyway.  After contributing the money, there was a place for a personal note.

My fingers were poised over the keyboard, not sure what to write.  On one hand, I didn’t want to make a big deal of it.  I didn’t want to appear as if I was soliciting a pat on the back (because, it is all about me, right?).  And, so many years had passed since my friend lost her daughter.  I almost just left that part blank and moved on with my day.

However, time moves differently for those who are grieving.  I know this truth because I lost my first husband sixteen years ago.  In my case, there was a flurry of activity around me for those first couple of weeks and months.  I was enveloped in the caring arms of my friends and family and knew I was surrounded by those that loved my husband also and missed him also. That was a comfort to me.  I did not feel so all alone.

But, people move on with their lives.  It is human nature and it didn’t mean they weren’t still missing him, it just meant that they were healing. I had his day to day absence in my life and still do. Even now with a full life and a wonderful family, I have this weird reoccurring dream about once a year in which he was actually alive the whole time and just hiding.  I’m not sure what a therapist would make of that.

Before this event, I often didn’t know what to say, or didn’t want to open old wounds, so I just wouldn’t say anything.  But since Brian’s death, I have always found great comfort in hearing other people talk about him or acknowledge his life in any way. It is almost as if their words keep him from slipping from this earth unnoticed by anyone but me.

So, I took a moment and typed, something like, she sounds like an incredible kid and have a good run, nothing earth shattering or of literary merit, but heartfelt.

And today, I have in mind to send a few cards out to family or friends that have lost someone in months or years past to say I remember.