What do you say; what can you say when people you love pass on leaving that hurting piece of your heart behind. Recently, a very dear friend of mine passed on. I went to lunch with her around the end of summer which I thought was unusual. We met quite often for lunch. She told me since a recent surgery she never felt well, had lost a lot of weight, and just felt week. For reasons I didn’t know at the time, it seemed to be very difficult to get hold of her until after she passed the word started spreading and that piece of my heart just ached. I wondered what I could have said to a have comforted her more? After long periods of reflection I became thankful for the 40 or so years we knew each other and the wonderful times we had together exploring our offbeat forms of religion and spirituality. But isn’t that what life is about, isn’t it? It’s about the people we love, the people we care about, and the people we spend our time with that are meaningful. It’s not what we became, not the status we think we have, but is that bond – that love – between people. Sometimes we just accidentally meet while at other times we may have spent a great deal of time together. Nevertheless, a bond was created where before there may have been none.
As I look back, life seemed to jump in different plateaus and during those levels someone leaves. Perhaps someone close or just someone you met just the other day. Without warning one day they are here, the next day they’re gone. Strange isn’t it?
I remember in my 30s I lost most of my uncles and aunts but I was young and it just seemed like something normal to me. There were good memories during times of being together that I will always remember. Then my 40s came along. Things were getting a little more serious at that time because I started losing my grandparents and a series of very close friends. A few years later I lost my mother, then years later my father leaving just us kids with no connection to what we called laughingly at times our past. But as soon as we talked about our history and our friendships and our good times together, we turned and realized our future was short compared to that long past we would talk about. Things were becoming really serious then.
Each time a friend, a relative or an acquaintance would pass I wondered what more could I have done? What words could I have said that may have comforted them more? Or, I would say, “would there be anyone there to comfort me?” Questions like that made me feel real self-centered and less than at times. In reality though what can we say? What can we do?
The answer comes to me differently each time I ask myself these questions but I realized that it wasn’t things or doings that were the important things. It was how you gave your love away, how you seize the opportunity to comfort, and during those times when you would quietly sit together and discuss things that others would never think of. It was the bond you made along with the connection between souls, between hearts, and those ephemeral things that words cannot describe. These are the things that live and die within each of us.
So, for those of us going through these difficult times in life, I thought I’d leave you with a few thoughts, words of comfort, or perhaps words that might uplift each of us and brighten all our days when we become sad at someone’s passing or mourning for the loss of a loved one. As weak as it sounds, sometimes words are probably all we have to show someone how much we really care, or are they?
I discovered that it can be tough to select the proper words of comfort to express the despair that we are feeling or the empathy we have for a hurting family. Even when you’ve gone through a lot of experiences in your own life of loss and mourning, it is still challenging to come up with the “right words” to say. So, what many do is to go to quotations from famous people or from someone you know who left you with just the right number of words to say.
Quotations will assist you to express your feelings eloquently, without having to consider the words yourself. However, it’s the words that you add in a perhaps non-eloquent fashion that will mean the most to those left behind. You see, words that you say come from your heart during times of loss and mourning. Sometimes you stumble over words, stop to wipe a tear, without knowing how we reach into our souls from ages gone by to pick just the right words without knowing it.
Here are a few quotations that I came across that may help in one way or another. I hope so.
“I’ve heard that people will probably forget what you said, individuals will probably forget what you did, but people won’t ever forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou –
“For life and death are one, even as their river and their sea are one.” Kalil Gibran –
“If I could reach up and hold the weight of a star in my hand every time you’ve made me smile, the whole evening sky would be in the palm of my hands.” unidentified
“A person of true wealth is the good she or he does on earth.” Mohammed –
“Where there’s sorrow there’s holy ground.” Academy Award winner Oscar Wilde –
“What we’ve once enjoyed, we may never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” Helen Keller
“It is absurd and wrong to mourn those who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” George S. Patton, Jr.
“There’s a sacredness in tears. They aren’t their mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. You know him, for he stays with you and would be in you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.” Psalms 71: 20-21
“You who’ve made me see many problems and calamities will probably revive me again, from the depths of their earth you’ll bring me up again. You’ll increase my greatness and comfort me again.” Psalms 71: 20-21 –
“Consequently, if anyone is in Christ, he’s a brand new creation. The old has passed away, behold, their new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5: 17 – “don’t be afraid, for I’ve redeemed you: I’ve called you by your name, you’re mine.”
Losing someone you loved, someone you cared for, or someone you just had a good time with during their lifetime is the memories that will last forever. They are the things that matter, they are the things that will change your life and the lives of those you have comforted. Never be embarrassed by what you may say, never fear what people may say, you will only grieve about the things you wish you had said, wish you had done, or a loved one you wish you had given that last hug goodbye.