Words for loss: A loss for words

I have learned of 3 deaths and two pending deaths in the last 5 days.

I am always at a loss when it comes to dealing with the death of people. It is hard for me to share someone’s anguish, let alone share my own with others. I am very aware of the feelings, emotions, sense of loss and helplessness that accompany the loss of people we once knew, worked with, loved, cared for, lived with, etc. It is jarring to know that someone you’ve laughed with, hugged, argued with, spent time with or interacted with in any way is no longer alive and will no longer play a tangible role in your life.

I actually handle loss well, or as well as can be expected, I think. I cry and hurt and ache and long for things to be different for varying degrees of time, like most other people, but underneath my grief is a solid awareness and acceptance that this is part of the life cycle and we all must pass someday. Still, it is common to feel that the death was tragic, unfair, untimely…to ask why and how and to insist it’s not fair. This is normal human reaction. Some people cope better than others with loss and eventually are able to accept and let go; some people aren’t and never do.

It seems like there has been a lot of death and sickness around me lately; perhaps no more than usual, but with Facebook, e-mail, blogs and the such, I am much more aware of the myriad of struggles people are going through with illness and death on a regular basis. Suicides, Cancer, AIDS, Addiction, Abuse, Accidents…it feels like it’s happening more often and closer and closer to me and my circle lately. Perhaps it’s just that I am older and the social world I am part of is half way through their life-cycle and therefore more prone to such incidents in their lives and the lives of their family and friends. Perhaps I am more sensitive to suffering and/or try to be more actively aware of what is going on in the lives of the people I interact with than I once was or did. Or perhaps it’s just a cumulative feeling from living long enough to experience loss many times myself or through others.

Whatever it is, it is not something I ever get used to, no matter how hard I try to rationalize it or accept it. When it comes to death and suffering, it saddens and hurts me. Always has, always will and I hate the feelings of powerlessness and ache that accompanies it. For me, it is very true that “no man is an island” and when my world and the world of my friends is diminished by even one presence, it is diminished for all of us on some level. Just because it’s inevitable and common doesn’t mean we have to like it.

Loss just sucks.

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3 Responses to Words for loss: A loss for words

  1. Raybeard says:

    Tragic situation, S/b. Deep sympathy to you and to those also affected. Hope you can manage to keep your chin up in this troubling time. Hugs of consolation to you.

  2. Victor says:

    One death is sad enough but three with another possible two at the same time is a very difficult situation. My condolences, Sean.

  3. Buddy Bear says:

    I am sorry for your losses.

    Unfortunately as we get older, the deaths of family, friends and acquaintances becomes increasingly commonplace. My parents (late 70s) seem to attend funerals non-stop.

    My father commented that in their 40s, they had no idea what to do when their closest friend died of cancer. Should they visit? Not visit? Help the family? Talk about dying with the friend? Not talk about it? Now, my parents are very accustomed to death.

    My father now will talk openly and honestly with the friend and ask him directly what can be done. Invariably, the dying friend will want to see other friends so my father will contact everyone and set up a little visiting schedule which is much appreciated.

    At the extreme end of the scale, my 98 year old grandmother was the last one living amongst all her peers…. everyone she knew of her age was already dead.

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