Another sad day as the sun shines bright bringing another angel to Heaven. My second cousin, who died June 11, 2013, left a hole in our family; but now he is being joined by his only son, his namesake – who died a hero at the age of 24, trying to save a friend. Both young men drowned this weekend. My heart is broken and aches for my cousin’s wife, the mother of this selfless young man.
This death marks the second for me in less than two weeks. But this one hits me so much harder. My feelings are a mix of sympathy, empathy, selfishness, grief, guilt, confusion…so many jumbled feelings.
When my cousin died last June, I was so afraid to see him in the casket. My cousin looked so much like my brother growing up. My brother passed away when he was only 25 years old, twenty years ago; but there isn’t a day that I don’t think about him, miss him. I think I was filled with so many anxious feelings of having to relive the moment of seeing my brother in the casket again. And now thinking of how my cousin’s son died…due to drowning and he was only 24 – almost exactly like my brother. It’s surreal. I feel like my heart is being ripped open again, emotions so raw, jumbled. Feeling like I did 20 years ago.
I know I can’t fully understand how my cousin-in-law feels – losing her husband, now losing her only son. I am sympathetic. I worry how she will survive, and find a way to move forward. Although, I feel sorry for her loss, I am also feeling strong pangs of empathy, and reliving my own personal loss from many years ago. It may be impossible to be fully empathetic because each individual’s reactions, thoughts and feelings to tragedy are unique. But I am not just feeling sorry for, I am sorry with and have placed myself in the midst of someone else’s emotional reactions.
Learning that grief takes on many forms, and never goes away fully.
“You don’t get over it, you just get through it. You don’t get by it, because you can’t get around it. It doesn’t ‘get better’; it just gets different. Everyday… Grief puts on a new face.” – (Wendy Feireisen)
“Learn to get in touch with silence within yourself, and know that everything in this life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.” – (Elizabeth Kubler-Ross) ♥