Thanks for Reading Suburban Adventure

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Saying Goodbye

We were all at my Mother's house sitting in the sun, swimming and listening to music. I had prepared a nice spread of food and we were drinking Proseco. I was so happy to relax after a long week and then my phone rang. I was happy to see that it was my brother Stephen calling me. I dislike the fact that he and his family live in Florida as we seldom see them. I often think how wonderful it would be to have all of my family living near by. I assumed that he was calling to wish us a Happy fourth of July. He in fact was calling to deliver the sad news that a relative that we love had died in the night. I started to sob and my day of relaxation quickly turned into a very sad day.

My children were very concerned and very sweet as they ran over to me. I don't believe in hiding grief or masking it. I felt real pain and with good reason and the tears furiously rolled down my face. We just saw Joe at Giavanna's first communion. He looked great and was happy to be at another family function. I remember how sad he was when my Grandfather died and when my Father died. He could barely look at me at my Fathers funeral. I saw the sadness in his face and I could see the sadness that he felt for me. He loved my father and they shared a love of the opera, travel, history and family. The world has lost a real gentleman and I have lost a very special friend.

I have had to say goodbye to some of the most important men in my life. I have adapted to a life without a father. It is the most challenging aspect of my life. When I knew my Father had a terminal illness I did what I typically do when Im struggling internally. I bought many books on accepting illness and death and I read and read. This is what I do when Im upset. I read a wonderful book written by Alexandra Kennedy called "Losing a Parent". There was a passage in that book that comes to mind whenever I have to accept the death of someone close to me. The following poem was written by a man following the death of his father.

"When you love give it everything you've got and when you've reached your limit give it more. And forget the pain of it because if you face your death it is only the love you have given and received which will count and all the rest- the accomplishments, the struggles, the fights-- will be forgotten in your reflection. And if you have loved well then it will have been worth it and the thrill of it will last you through the end. And if you have not, death will always come too soon and be too terrible to face".

I have had the good fortune of having three of my grandparents live into their nineties and my Grandfather died at 86. They were all at my wedding and they had the opportunity to meet Christopher. My Grandmother died a month or so before I gave birth to Giavanna. I was very close to her and my Mother didn't want me to go to the wake as she thought it would be too upsetting for me. I didn't go and it is one of the biggest regrets of my life.
I have had more upset over not going. My Mother always tried to shield me from bad news. I suppose this sense of protection toward a child lasts a lifetime.

I think grief is something that we all experience in a unique manner. Some people sob and have no difficulty expressing their grief while others bottle it all up and are stoic.
There comes a time for goodbye and our culture does little to prepare us for this. When you accept your loss healing will occur. It may take ten years before you can release yourself from the unresolved business or relationships that you had with the person who has died.
As you say goodbye the love continues and your memory will always keep that person alive.

In "Losing a Parent", I recall a woman's letter to her best friend at her mother's death. "Your mother and my mother can never leave us; the temple of their lives may change, but the theme of their vast love, still throbbing in us, will only be continuing somewhere".

Rest In Peace Joe- you were loved immensely and your memory will remain alive in my heart and in my home. xo

No comments: