When someone you care about dies it is very common to re-experience or re-visit grief from a previous loss. It is much like navigating a map… a map of your pain and experiences. My friend’s father died yesterday. He was one of the most incredibly kind, generous, thoughtful and inspiring men I have ever had the good fortune to meet in my life. His daughter Alycia was my best friend for many years. Then, she introduced me to her favorite sister Susan and I fell in love with her too. They became my sisters of the heart. Their father was ill earlier but with prayer seemed to get better and stronger. Then, I heard that he was in remission. So, I am not sure what exactly happened but he was recently hospitalized and then sadly he crossed over the rainbow bridge. To hear of his crossing over not only made me sad but it brought back the sadness I felt when his daughter Alycia died unexpectedly. In some ways I felt as if knowing that they are together again was a really good thing but then, the second thought that washed over me was that they are both gone too soon. I wasn’t through loving and caring about either of them. Then, that feeling lead me to another place in my grief history and thoughts of my parents and how those losses felt. Then, I remembered how my parents and I reacted when my little boy died and so it goes when you start recalling so many other losses. It really was like a snowball effect. So, with each passing the grief rears up and hits the tender spots of your heart, mind and soul again and again. I hope that knowing that this is a normal occurrence will help newly bereaved people or just about anyone! I cannot stress this point enough. So the next question is — what if anything can be done about it? This might sound like a broken record but if you focus on the good times and good memories it helps. If you talk about him or her and laugh about the good times it helps. If you remember that we all have a map laid out before us and that we must navigate the various paths along our life’s journey and acknowledge that sometimes (or should I say that oftentimes?) we are faced with rugged and rocky obstacles in our way but if we are sure footed and purposeful about how we step and stay the course that we can and do survive. It isn’t always easy but all of the lessons we learn along the way make us stronger if we don’t let them overwhelm us.
RIP Roy Long Sr.