I have no idea how to even begin this post. I am so overwhelmed with a heavy sadness that I am sure I do not have the eloquence to do the emotions justice, to honor the loss appropriately. Yesterday I found out a friend I graduated from high school with passed away suddenly. She was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, which went undetected because she was asymptomatic until it was in the very late stages – she died about a week after the diagnosis. She leaves behind four young children. Our high school was not large, so her classmates are all heart-heavy right now. Some of them (including my husband) attended school with her from kindergarten through high school, and even into college. Sad doesn’t really even begin to describe how her friends, and I’m certain her family, are feeling. I know it doesn’t capture my emotions right now, and I haven’t seen her in years.
But her smile is one that you simply cannot forget – ever. And her laugh was one of the most genuine around. And, I know that people say this all the time, but her’s was a personality that truly lit up every room she walked into. The world is certainly a less bright place without her in it.
And while it is never easy to lose someone, there is no way to really “prepare” for it, I think this is hitting so hard because frankly there was simply so little time to grapple with the impending loss.
I recently read a post from a friend who discussed what she would do given she had a year left. I went back to her blog to re-read her recent piece on loss because I was trying to wrap my brain around the myriad emotions I was facing. I found her words in this earlier piece as cathartic as the one I went in search of. It was capturing my own ruminations: what would I do? When faced with this question, people often respond with “I can only imagine”. But truthfully, the reality is, for me at least, that I cannot imagine. I cannot imagine facing the truth that I had such a short amount of time left with my husband, my family, my friends, with my daughter.
More certainly, I cannot imagine what I would do if I was given only a week. The lack of closure that exists with that limited time, the thought of that is simply devastating to me. I have no words that can capture the sadness I feel for her, for her husband, her sisters, her parents and her children. And yes, I feel a sadness for her. A bright light has been turned out for her family and friends, there is no question there. When discussing death, dying, and loss, people often believe that the emotional burden is on those of us that are left behind to feel that loss. While that is true, in this instance, I have to imagine she acutely felt this loss as well, and so my sadness is for her. I want to not imagine what she was feeling in those few days, how overwhelmed with joy she must have been at looking at the family and life she had built, and simultaneously overwhelmed with the very real, very heart wrenching sadness that she was not going to see the rest of it. I want to not imagine that. But instead I am sitting here purposely focusing my mind on those feelings, remembering not only our loss of her and the sadness we all are feeling, but honoring her loss as well.
3 thoughts on “Honoring Loss”
Oh my, Colleen. Did she really have such a short time after diagnosis? It’s insane. I know who you are taking about and even though it has been such a long time since I have seen Liz, I knew her. And it is crazy, crazy what happens in this life. (maybe it’s not to the universe… but to my little brain, it is.)
I love you. Let’s make the best we can out of this day.
Colleen, I am so sorry for your loss…this is a beautiful tribute to her and her family; very well written.
This is really lovely, Colleen, and I am so sorry for your sadness.