Friday, January 21, 2011

Loss

So I'd planned on getting some blogging done on my snow day, but this isn't what I planned on writing about.

I was enjoying my snow day, doing some quality facebook stalking, when I saw in my news feed that a kid I went to college with lost his two-year-old daughter today.

My heart hurts for him and his wife.  I can't even begin to imagine what they're going through.  Now, I haven't spoken to this guy since graduation, and never got to meet his beautiful daughter, but still.  I've been in a funk all afternoon.

Loss.  Shocking, knock the wind out of you, loss.  And grief.  These words do not do the accompanying feelings justice.  Loss is one of the few truly universal human experiences.  It jumps up and surprises us when we least expect it.

I've not lost anyone lately (knock on wood) but I know plenty of people who have.  One of my students lost her grandma this week.  Holly over at Arnold and Me had me crying with her Dear Papa post last week.

I am unbelievably blessed to still have all four of my grandparents alive, and in relatively good health.  I can't even think about what I know will come one day.  My heart tightens and I feel like I can't breathe just thinking about it.

But I have experienced loss.  My freshman year of college, I was excited to go home for winter break and see my high school friends.  I was at my parent's house (thankfully) when I got the phone call.  It was one of my HS friends.  She was calling to tell me another friend, who we'll call Amy, had been in an accident on the way home for break.  It was a head-on collision with a truck, and she had been killed.

It's been almost 10 years, and I still get choked up thinking about it.  Amy was one of my best friends in HS.  We were in choir together, ate lunch in the same group, and hung out a lot on the weekends.  She was my ride everywhere, even though her parents didn't want her driving anyone around (hee, hee, teenagers).

I don't really remember the phone call.  I do remember crying harder than I ever had before in my life.  Thankfully, I had made some wonderful friends in my first semester of school, and I remember calling them.  They were wonderful, and listen and cried with me.

Loss connects us in ways nothing else can.  Because Amy died at Christmastime, I was able to go to her visitation and funeral.  At her visitation, I sat with a kid who was in choir with me and Amy.  He was a year behind us, and I'd not seen or spoken to him since May, but it didn't matter.  We sat together and linked arms, and cried together.  We listened to the priest talk about Amy and how hard it was to lose her.  And then we laughed together.  Amy's parents chose to play her favorite song at the visitation.  This song was Light My Candle from Rent (in case you've never heard it, it's full of references to some rather inappropriate extracurricular activities).

So, in the middle of this very serious Catholic visitation service was this song.  And oh did we laugh; we laughed till our sides hurt.  Because Amy would have loved it!

Her funeral was much the same, minus inappropriate songs from musicals.  The service was full of students and teachers from our high school whom I hadn't seen in a while, most of whom I haven't seen since.  But we mourned together, cried together, and helped each other through the service.

Losing Amy and all that accompanied it changed my life.  The grief of losing her made me feel broken in a way I never had been before.  And since we're going with full disclosure here, it really challenged my faith, and what I believed.  I'd gone to church my entire life, but working through all that grief forced me to really examine what I believed about life, death, and God.

This turned out to be a good thing.  One of the reasons I chose Theology as one of my majors I think is due to all I worked through after Amy's death.  There are no black and white answers in life.

Don't get me wrong, I would give anything to have Amy back.  I still think about her all the time, especially since we moved into our current home.  We're right down the street from the church where her funeral was held--I drive by it all the time.  But that's the thing about losing someone--they aren't coming back.  My student's grandma's not coming back.  My friend's child is not coming back.

I know we've all been there.  No one can escape loss.  So, my DOC friends, please keep my student and my friend in your thoughts and prayers.  Thanks.

3 comments:

  1. Loss changes our perspective. Life, the grind, everything seems different. Little things seem less important, family grows more important.

    ((HUGS))

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  2. Thinking of your student and your friend Jess. The grieving process seems so incredible slow and painful in the beginning...time almost stands still...which makes it even more unbearable. Luckily as time passes and the grief lessens it's hold on you a bit and you are able to muddle on, but never forget.

    Love to "Amy's" family as well.

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  3. And now, precious, we have experienced that throat clutching, heart lurching, soul shaking 'threat' b/c of Poppa's stroke. And it will be our faith as well as friends & family that will see us thru, no matter the outcome. You bless all our lives (sniff).

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