Tag Archives: love never dies

Dead but not Lost

Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops layers of deer, rabbits, birds and plants in a springtime scene.“I will remember you forever. In this way, because I got to live, you will too,” my daughter had written to her friend who died. She was going to carry Jake with her for the rest of her days. So before she died, she had already prescribed what should happen upon a loved one’s death. I had to live so that my daughter “will too.” And because she loved Jake, he is along for the ride. Every day I wish my father, my daughter, and Jake good morning and goodnight. And in between, I live and love my time like I’m living for us all.

My daughter is dead but she is not lost. I’m carrying her with me. All the time.

The word ‘lost’ does not describe those we love who died. Language is inadequate for conveying things about death. There should be one beautiful, sad word that means ‘my loved one who died.’ My deceased beloved one, the one who died and gouged a huge hole in my heart. My mother who passed, my dead father, my angel child, my sister-in-heaven, my brother on-the-other-side. My dearly departed friend. The sweet spirit of my wife, the soul of my late husband, my forever-partner. My grandparents may-they-rest-in- peace. My beloved lost one (who’s not really lost).

We who love those-for-whom-there-is-no-one-single-word, keep their memories alive. We are their connection to the Earth now. The love is still here. The memory, their images, spirits, values, voices, …live on within us. They are never gone. NeverGone. Until I find another word, or sound, that’s what I will call my precious loved ones who died. NeverGones. My father is my NeverGone. My daughter is my NeverGone. And I will carry them until the day I am finally carried out of life myself.

 

Do you have any other ideas for similar terms of endearment? What phrases about death bother you?

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What is Grief?

Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops borders around a banyan tree with hugging, intertwining branches.After life, as I knew it, got shot to the stars, grief charred me from the inside out. There were good days and bad days. I sometimes forgot my sadness. Briefly. Other times, for days, I’d be cranky and complain, “I can’t do this. I hate this. This is too hard.”

“Can we talk in terms of solutions rather than problems?” a wise friend asked, when she saw me struggling on a bad day. Then she said, “Keep coming back to what you love,” and I almost cried. Because to me, that meant coming back to my daughter who died. Everyone else was telling me, “It’s time to move on.” If grief was something to “get over” or “get through,” I was failing miserably. So to hear that I could come back, was to understand that there is no time limit on mourning the loss of a loved one. It allowed me to slowly get used to my shaken world. It allowed that my grieving might never be completely done.

Can we think of grief as something more than pain and suffering? It’s been more gently defined as love’s unwillingness to let go, the price of love, or love with nowhere to go. Holding tight to our loved one’s memory and spirit, when we grieve we are expressing our love.

Grief is also the slow redefining of our relationship with the one we love who died. It is the effort to rebuild around the giant hole they leave in our lives. We can choose to weave the emotional bond, the memory, their values and voice into a new way of carrying them with us.

And maybe grief is, now and forever, a part of your story. A part of who you are. One more layer in the trillions of layers that shape you. Maybe it’s a small spark of transformation and growth. For all that has happened, for all the heartache of my loss, I am a better person now.

 

How has grieving changed you? Or is recent grief still scorching you from the inside out?

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