"Losing people you love affects you. It is buried inside of you and becomes this big, deep hole of ache. It doesn’t magically go away, even when you stop officially mourning." - Carrie Jones
"We bereaved are not alone. We belong to the largest company in all the world—the company of those who have known suffering." - Helen Keller
A friend of mine died suddenly a week ago. She was a friend, a mother, a daughter, a wife, a colleague … and too young to die. The crater where she was and the immediate shock to those close to her is hard to fully assess. The loss and suffering inside each person is made so much more intolerable by the sheer confusion and desperate need to make sense of it all. Why did it happen? How? Could it have been prevented? Is there a place to focus the anger, hurt, and blame? What does it mean? It just doesn’t make any sense. There seems no end to the pain.
The ripples of loss spread far through our relationships with each other. It actually changes the fabric of the world we live in. Nothing will be the same.
About 150,000 people died every day in the world. Yet, we don’t feel that impact of that knowledge in the same way as the loss of a single person that we actually know personally. Helen Keller’s quote above does help us understand that the terrible hurt we are feeling is not fully ours alone. Millions of people are feeling that ache of loss today and millions more tomorrow. How our perspective changes when the world is irrevocably shattered by the loss of a close person. Ripples spreading out on the lake of humanity. And not just one, but an unending rain falling down on the lake of our common existence.
This is the kind of hurting, the missing of another, that never really goes away fully. It shouldn’t. We shouldn’t want it to.
The individuals that transcend this world are no longer tied to the constant noise and persistent tug and pull of daily life. They have moved on and out of the storm. However, their parting gift to the rest of us, perhaps their greatest gift, is to remind us what it means to be alive and that the time we have here should not be wasted. Whatever unanswered questions may linger, whatever hardships we have to overcome, it is that ache of loss that never disappears and that feeling reminds us that we are connected, that we need to love, and that we must do it now.
No one is unaffected. Reach out to those that are hurting and let them know you care.