Twenty-four little hours.
Last Friday our friends’ D & R friend of 40 years passed unexpectedly. Her husband, E, came home and found her in bed, gone.
He, as a trained first responder, administered CPR, but the paramedics that came contacted the county coroner and he called her deceased on the scene.
Their worlds changed in ways we can only imagine. We expressed our condolences via social media, as that was how the husband shared it, and via text and a card to our friends D &R.
Today D & R hosted a Celebration of Life. We shared with B’s family and friends how we knew her.We gained so much insight into who she was, and how much she touched people’s lives. I was sad that we didn’t know her better before she passed.
Mostly we were there to support her husband and our friends, and took care of details that they couldn’t, due to overwhelm, their hosting duties, and so on. Their support systems are strong and cross many lines, and that’s good. They need and deserve that. I hope that those people will be there for them in the months and years that follow. When you stop feeling numb from shock and need a hug. When you plan a couples’ vacation to Hawaii and there are only 3, not 4. That’s when they’ll need their friends.
We all know life goes on, and how that does is based on who is around you for support. We know because my grandmother and father passed within 6 weeks of h each other (grandmother just before my daughter’s 2nd birthday, just before Thanksgiving; my wonderful husband made cupcakes for our daughter’s play group while I was with my family. My dad passed the day after Christmas; I talked to him and sent him a living Christmas tree as he was in the hospital from Dec. 12th [my sister’s birthday] until he passed Dec. 26th). We were preparing to return to the Republic of Korea a 2nd time for my amazing husband’s work, and our toddler was ill, I was ill, the stress was wearing us down, and we had a celebration of life for him on New Year’s Eve 1984. That’s a year I will well remember.
Our friends and family who’ve passed would not have wanted any of us (including our new friends and their families) to put our lives on hold. And so we did not. We went to Korea and carried on, knowing that we had 2 fewer family members to greet us on our return. D, R, and E will continue on, process what their lives will be like when they gather and she isn’t there, and will continue to live, without that gaping hole B’s death leaves them.
Losing anyone isn’t easy, and as we learn how to process grief (it’s different with each death, depending on who that person was and how they fit into their lives) and learn to live without that person, how we deal with everyday events often have a gravitas we can’t imagine until we’re in the thick of it. Sometimes, when you least expect it, a memory of your dear departed one will show up in the simplest of things…and suddenly the tears flow. And that’s fine. Take the time to acknowledge your feelings, your memories, your sadness, and then keep moving. Eventually you learn to integrate the loss into your life.
You never get over it. You just learn to live with it.
And you learn who your true friends are, who are with you when you need to cry, vent, and otherwise express your grief.
We’ve had a couple of opportunities to support D & R, and we were honored to work behind the scenes today, as literally hundreds of family & friends descended on them with stories, remembrances, questions, and gifts. Today I felt out of place yet right in place.
And I still miss my grandmothers, my dad and my mother. The void your loved ones leave never heals, and offers opportunities for a different way to communicate.
I hope D, R & E find peace, and a way to communicate with B. Because she sure is raining down stuff on us. And we wish B peace. Rest well, B.