As you know, a close and dear friend of mine recently died. And even though I have had losses in the past, this is my first “up close and personal” experience with grief. It is not what I expected. When I have observed others with their grief, I have seen their heartbreak and sorrow, but it was hard for me to imagine that unrelenting sadness going on for weeks and months and years and I felt somewhat removed from what I saw. My experience with sorrow tended to be brief and pragmatic, a byproduct of my emotionally repressive upbringing no doubt. "We all die eventually; it's a part of life." I couldn’t quite imagine how every reminder, every anniversary and birthday, every milestone could trigger the flood of emotion again and again and I have always felt guilty for not understanding.
So now I am facing the rest of my life without Mark. And my grief is not a constant, unrelenting sorrow like I thought I saw in others. It is very episodic. I can be perfectly calm one minute, crying the next, and fine again several minutes later. The depth of peace I can feel is a sharp contrast to the welling up tears that some thoughts bring. It is not milestones and dates that trigger my sadness, just the idea of never seeing him again. I miss him with a power that surprises me. Yet the grief is born of love and reminds me of the bond we shared and how much we both valued our friendship. Every tear I shed is in honor of him and a tribute to the fine person he was. So in many ways I am grateful for this time of grief. I hope this experience helps me to become a more compassionate person and opens new avenues in my life to explore. Most of all, I hope he will be waiting for me when I pass and it is this idea that comforts me when the fear of death and its apparent finality threatens.