It has been an interesting week.
I attended two funerals this week, one of a lady who was still too young to have her life end at fifty years, and another of a distant relative at 92 years. Both services were moving but also warm and full of life, celebrating the lives of each of the ladies to the fullest I think.
The first funeral was of a family friend’s wife. A really beautiful woman with a kind personality. I did know her very well but the few times we had interacted were pleasant enough. Her family was strong during the service, but at the graveside it became too much for her husband to handle. The man broke down seriously. I have never seen a man break down like that. He wept for his wife, his love, his friend, his helper. This is a man who is always serious with a no nonsense personality, weakened by the pain of losing his wife. I cannot even try to imagine the anguish this man is feeling right now at losing her.
It brings to mind that is indeed true when it is said death robs. You are never really prepared for the loss of a loved one, even if they were ailing for a while and deep down in your heart, you knew they were dying. Even if was a really aged person who had already lived out what might have been the best years of their lives. Death leaves a big gaping hole in the heart of those left behind.
Life must go on for them. They must forge ahead. They need to be strong for the children left behind, the family and other loved ones remaining.
We buried my friend’s wife and child some months ago and after placing wreaths on the graves, the eldest daughter, about eleven years turned to her father and asked. “Now that we have left Mummy and Junior here Daddy, now what. What is next for us?”
Can anyone even answer that question?
We are all touched by death’s cold hand at one time or another in our lives, but each experience is unique. You cannot tell that person “I know how you feel” because you truly do not. You cannot tell them to “stop crying and be strong”, they need to let out their pain. I believe that silent hug, that warm shoulder, that calm presence is what helps for most. As we all grieve differently.