It seemed it was just a regular Monday morning. It appeared to be just a normal, routine school day, but soon we were to sadly realise, this day was anything but regular and routine. It would forever be etched in our memories of a heartbreaking day when we lost one of our own. At break we were called to an urgent staff meeting where we were notified that one of our occasional teaching colleagues, Lynnlee, a family member of someone on our staff, was tragically killed in an automobile accident just hours before. The group was speechless and a heaviness hung like a thick, dark cloak. Tears and hugs and sorrow flowed freely. It was truly unbelievable. She was twenty seven. She was young and vibrant, just starting her life and teaching career. It was just inconceivable to learn that this young teacher, so passionate about life and making a difference in the lives of her students and all she encountered, was gone. It is so difficult to process and understand why things like this happen. At the funeral home there was a huge outpouring of love and support from the people gathered to pay their respects to an amazing person gone too soon. Most touching of all were all the cards and letters the students had made for her, a visible tribute to an outstanding teacher and role model they absolutely adored.
Equally shocking is the news this week of the death of 24-year-old Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez who was killed in an early morning boating accident. Such a promising career ahead of him and about to be a new dad. The nation is still in a state of shock over the loss of such a talented sports figure.
When tragedies of this nature strike it is so easy to be angry and confused. It does not make any sense and the loved ones who remain are left wondering how do they even go on from here? Life becomes a blur where you pray this is just a bad nightmare that you will wake up from as soon as possible.
I remember feeling that way when my uncle died suddenly. He had been up as usual, had some chest pain at work, collapsed and was gone. The family was left devastated and confused. I felt that way when I was told " I am sorry. Your baby is gone." Not once, but three times I heard those terrible words. I recall at the time feeling like I was watching my life unfold in front of me like an outside observer who was powerless to change anything. It seemed everything was moving in slow motion and I could not truly process what was happening to me.
Grief is a very difficult thing to handle. It affects us all differently and comes in waves. One minute you feel that you are handling it all well and then the next minute grief hits you like a tidal wave, knocking the wind out of your sails through a trigger of some sort. Triggers are memories of different varieties using all of the senses. They can be anniversary dates, smells, songs, expressions, or seeing things your loved one enjoyed. The list goes on and on. The most important thing to realize is that grieving is necessary and you need to allow yourself the time you need to do it well.
What has been really weighing on my mind heavily is how unpredictable and uncertain life can be. There are no guarantees of how long any of us have. I know I have been guilty of taking people for granted or putting off important conversations I know I should have with people for another day. This is something I am working on to change. Even this week I have sought out people to have conversations I needed to have, or to freely vocalize to others all that they mean to me. I don't want to miss my chance to tell them.
I have a special heart and burden for those grieving as it has been so much of the fabric that I am. I am often asked by people how do they carry on? My advice is as follows:
As mentioned, grief has no timeline or rules. Give yourself time. You will have good days and bad days. You will have a rollercoaster of emotions and many difficult times, but know that you will come through this.
Don't be afraid to love others around you just because you have lost someone. Don't let your hurt of losing your special someone get in the way of loving those around you who need you now more than ever. Let those you love know how much they mean to you always and never take one single day for granted.
Forgive grudges. Let go of the pain from the past. Move on. Agree to disagree. If we have learned anything about this life, we know we are never guaranteed anything and we do not want to live with regrets.
Live Life to the Fullest
There is no greater tribute you can give to your loved ones then to live the rest of your life well in his or her honour. Your loved one would not want you to hide away, dress in black and stop living because he or she is gone. It is o.k. to laugh and move forward. It is o.k. to enjoy your life. If your loved one was here, that is exactly what he or she would want for you.
Be Open to God's Healing
Complete healing from grief comes from God. Not only does He help us heal, but He helps us use our pain for a purpose. When difficult and heart breaking times come our way, we serve a God who specializes in helping us to eventually use those trials and all they have taught us for the greater good. He will guide us and help us minister, connect and encourage others using the very experiences that we thought we would never, ever recover from. It takes time, but if we are open to it, this can happen. As we journey at our own pace from heartache to hope, we can become an instrument of healing to others and use our pain for a positive purpose.
Seize the Day!
Make every day count. Don't wait for tomorrow. There is no better day than the one we have right now. Your life awaits you. Don't waste one single minute of it.
Love to all,
Joshua 1:9 ~ Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous . Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Little Lesson Learned: Life is precious. Cherish every day you have been given and live life to the fullest.
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2016