Today Heather‘s dad posted on her blog.  He talked about, among other things, mourning.  He is obviously mourning the passing of his granddaughter, Maddie.  But he also mentioned friends who had died years ago, and how he still mourns them now.

Somehow, in a weird way, this is comforting to me.  (Wait…hear me out before you make ugly comments.)  I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who doesn’t “get over it”, even “over” people I never met or didn’t know very well.

I remember a kid that I grew up with who died of cancer at a young age.  I think of him every so often, and can always see his eyes.  His eyes were, are haunting.  His death was my first taste of mortality.  Someone my age, younger than me actually, could die.  Wow.

I remember when my grandfather died.  How angry I got when people were talking and laughing just like everything was normal.  I remember my nine-year-old self wanting to yell, “He’s dead, and he’s never coming back.  How can you be having fun right now?”  And now there are times when I still get angry.  Not because of people laughing and living like they should, but because I can’t hear his voice anymore.  Because no matter how hard I try, I can’t recall his smell.

In high school the sister of a friend was killed in a car accident.

Another girl I knew from high school was killed in a wreck not long after she finished her first year of college.

A friend of a friend died of a freak heart problem he didn’t even know he had.

My grandmother, Mama Jo, who had a plethera of medical issues ultimately died of sepsis after a nasty go round with surgery-requiring diverticulitis.  It blows my mind that she never saw any of my children.

The father of a childhood friend died.  Another friend lost her mom.

Breast cancer stole away another friend’s mom.  I never even met her, but I met her daughter.

(Side note:  This month is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Please go here to see what you can do.)

I’ve heard Marshall and other physicians talk about patients they’ve lost.

Death is devastating.
Death is overwhelming.
Death is not the end.
I’m sure of that.

And I’m also sure that I think of all these people for a reason.
Whenever I think of Maddie, I send up a prayer for Mike & Heather.
Whenever I pass the Larry Bearden Crosswalk sign, I think of my friend Chan, even though I haven’t talked to him in years.
Whenever I look up at the photograph I have of my grandparents on their wedding day, I thank God for the love they had and the impact they had on my life.

And I wonder…will I ever not miss them?  Will there ever be a day I don’t hear someone say “Mama Jo” and not get a lump in my throat?  Will there ever come a time I see purple and not think of Maddie?  Will I ever see a teenage girl in a softball uniform and not wonder how Jessica’s parents are doing?

Mourning doesn’t ever end.  Grief may dissapate some.
The memories may go from technicolor to black and white.
But they aren’t gone.

9 Responses to Mourning
  1. alaina
    October 9, 2009 | 12:22 pm

    My lifelong friend Alicia would have been 25 today. She died last year. Send up a prayer for her parents and her twin sister if you get a chance. Thanks for posting about mourning because i’m definitely doing some of that today.

  2. Ali Mc
    October 9, 2009 | 1:01 pm

    And by mourning someone, we are also celebrating them–acknowledging the impact they had on our lives and the fact that we got to know them at all. You’re right, eventually there’s a comfort in remembrance. Thanks for this post, Brigida. There are a couple of people who have been on my mind lately, and reading this was a nice way to put it into perspective and be grateful for them along with missing them.

  3. Aunt Dianne
    October 9, 2009 | 3:11 pm

    When grandaddy died, a very wise friend said, “You never get over it; you just get use to it.” She was right.

  4. Becky
    October 10, 2009 | 8:57 am

    Wonderful timing to read this Bridget. I was talking about my grandfather last night at dinner. He joined our Lord (and his wife who passed away 30 years ago) last September. I find great comfort knowing their illnesses are gone. They have all won their battles and are with our heavenly Father. We miss their presence on earth terribly but will see them again. My grandfather who didn’t recognize me last year has all of his senses back and is no doubt playing golf with my grandmother. I pictured her touching up her lipstick waiting anxiously for him and telling him “It’s about time Dan.” I miss him dearly…every single day. Not a day goes by that something doesn’t remind me of Papa. But oh how lucky he is to be where he is.

  5. Issa
    October 10, 2009 | 6:42 pm

    I think on this, everyone is different. I am like you. But I know people who just aren’t. I have friends who don’t like to remember a friend of ours who has been gone almost 11 years. Remembering him is too hard for them. Shrug.

  6. ...angela
    October 11, 2009 | 8:10 pm

    I was with Aunt Carolyn and Aunt Martha at a women’s retreat this weekend. Please remember them – especially Aunt Carolyn. She still breaks down at losing Uncle Charles this past April. The loss is still so fresh to hear. We had several cries and hugging times. (Aunt Martha lost Uncle Jud Oct or Nov last year and misses him too, but did not cry like Aunt Carolyn). Also at retreat, a friend found out thru an announcement at assembly that a former church camper, Jared Grizzle age 25 (she was camp director for 10 years) was killed in an automobile accident. So, we had a lot of grief to deal with this weekend. She knows he is fine, but the loss for those left behind is still painful. The Love of our Lord will help us make it thru.

  7. ...angela
    October 11, 2009 | 8:36 pm

    (correction on the name of the young man – it is spelled Jerriod Grizzle)