What is the time frame to get over the loss of someone you love? Is there a point where you say it doesn’t hurt anymore?
My brother passed away 27 years ago; he was only 22 years old. I often think of the life he missed out living; so many things he never got to experience. My mother passed away 26 years ago; only a little older than I am now. It used to be a nagging wound that she never met any of my children. She would have loved all her grandchildren.
My father passed away almost five years ago. He lead a full life. He got remarried to a wonderful woman and was able to meet and know all of his grandchildren.
One of the gifts Deb gave me for Christmas, was a framed photo of my father. I opened it up and smiled at the picture. My father is dressed in safari gear in a forest. Probably birding with his wife, Gay. Or maybe on a hike with some of the grandchildren. It’s great photo and captures the essence of my dad.
I enjoyed it for a millisecond.
Then I had to look away from it because I was going to start crying. Too late. I didn’t even have time to process how I felt; I was just crying. The loss felt so profound and primal.
Immediately, I was engulfed in hugs from my kids and Deb. We all cried for a moment. And then, like a sun shower, it passed. Smiles returned and an incredible feeling of love swept over me.
There are times that I think we humans are such a flawed species. We inflict so much pain on each other and the planet and the other species we share the planet with. We do stupid, senseless and selfish things; rarely learning from our mistakes.
And yet, we are capable of love. And love can transform us. And it transcends death.
The gift of death has been to appreciate the people I love while I have them. Even though I wasn’t expecting either of my parents to die when they passed away, the last time I spoke to them, I finished our conversations with “I love you.” I still feel grateful that those were the last words I got to say to them.
Give someone you love a hug. Do it frequently.
© 2016 Peter Gruner
4 thoughts on “Sucker-punched by Loss”
Dear Peter – I only met your father once, briefly. It was at the time of your grandmother’s funeral. What a great man he was. Even though I only was with him for a few days, he has always stayed with me as a man to admire, to emulate. Kind, professional, dedicated, funny. I am sorry for your loss and the grief your family has gone through.
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