A couple of weeks ago, I attended a funeral of a friend who died at far too young an age. A generous writer and editor, friendship came easy to her. Her funeral was the most eloquent I’ve been to in no small part because of all the speakers were professional writers and editors. Her loss is keenly felt.
I asked the church office if there was a recording of it and for a small fee, I was sent a CD of the celebration of her life. I thought I could listen to it again without so much emotion, but the tears poured forth anew. Tears not only for the loss of this friend, but for all the friends and family I’ve lost over the past 5 years. The losses are piling up and because it’s the nature of life, they will continue. It is just the way it is, as much as I hate that fact.
There have been many times when I’ve been comforting someone who is mourning. Often they are told, “You’ll get over it.” That’s not really true. The truth I tell people engulfed in sadness, is that you’ll learn to accommodate the grief. Eventually, it won’t be quite as sharp, nor as often. You can learn to be happy again. But you will always have a piece of your heart missing.
The only solution to avoid all this sorrow would be to insulate my life from pain. Form no friendships and no attachments of any sort. Then, there would be no pain because there would be no loss. But there would be no joy, either. I have dear memories of laughter, struggle, tears, failures and triumphs shared. Oh yes, it hurts. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Donna Kemper put aside her art career to care for a mother she hadn't seen in over a decade. For seven years she followed her mother's journey into dementia, caring for her and putting forgiveness into action.