Posts Tagged ‘grief’

Slice of Losing a Life

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I put off going to visit.

I took my time finishing a prayer blanket. Then busy days kept me away. Until Sunday.  I knew I needed to go before it was too late.

I knocked tentatively on the door.  No answer.  Another knock. No answer.  I hung the bag with the blanket inside on the door handle and tip-toed back to my car.  I texted her daughter, “I left a package at the door.”

She responded, “No one answered the door?  I’m not home.  They must be on the back patio.”

I turned my car around.  Ok, here I go.  I walked around to the back and met her husband and her sister.  “I have the monitor, so I can hear her,” her husband said. “It’s time for her medicine. It’s a good time to visit.  She will be more alert.”

“You may be shocked to see her,” he added.  I remembered seeing my husband’s father near death.  I felt prepared.

I wasn’t prepared.

She lay in the bed. Her face pale, almost stone-like, but still soft and warm.  I lay next to her, placed the blanket over her, and cried.

When I spoke her name, she opened her eyes.  Did she see my tears?  She tried to reach out to hug me, but her arms had no direction.  I held her hand and rambled:

“You are beautiful.

You are a queen.

I love you.

God is with you.”

She mumbled.  I didn’t understand her words.

I think she said, “I’m sick.”

I think she said, “I love you.”

I think she smiled.

When her husband came in with her medicine, I saw true love.  He climbed onto the bed, raised her up, and said, “Breathe, breathe. I love you. Breathe.”

As I left, I hugged him.  A man I just met.  He was doing the best he could.  He’s holding on to a small thread and knows that it will soon break.  He will lose her.  She will die.  My eyes met his.

“I’m sorry,” I said.  “I’m so sorry.”

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Click here to read more #spiritualjourney posts.  Thanks Holly for hosting this roundup!

Click here to read more #spiritualjourney posts. Thanks Holly for hosting this roundup!

Holly invites us to reflect on our spiritual journey every Thursday. This week’s theme is Forgiveness, but I am being one of those students who is writing off-topic.

I was reading with one of my students about Buddha. A woman whose child was dead came to him asking for a miracle. Buddha told her if she could find a house that death had not visited, he would save her child. Of course, this proved impossible. The woman accepted the child’s death and buried him.

Death affects us all. But a young vibrant girl should not have to face the death of her mother.

Yesterday I got the news that Emily’s mother had died suddenly and unexpectedly. Emily is a fourth grade student. She bounces into class. She hums songs all the time. She is full of life and joy. Emily should not have to face the death of her mother.

After I heard the news, I called Emily’s grandmother and gave her my cell number saying Emily could call me anytime. She did. It was good to hear her voice, but it was shaky and small and sad. I held back my tears, told her I loved her, and reminded her of Dot Day, the happy day we had together on Monday.

Later I called Healing House, a nonprofit organization that helps grieving children. What gentle calming voices! They told me they have a “koping kit” that they can drop off for us at the school. I talked to the director about how to tell my other students. She said to be as honest as possible. She also told me to allow them to come up with ways to comfort Emily.

My students are amazing; however, I don’t ever want to see those expressions again. Their eyes immediately shone with tears. Their mouths fell open. We talked, and I kept my own tears at bay. We decided they would write personal messages to Emily on our blog. On the post, I put a picture of Emily’s dot. One of the students brought up how happy we all were on Dot Day. I am grateful that I allowed them to have a day of pure creative fun.

These are some of their comments:

I am so sorry. We are crying tears for you. I hope to you see you soon. I am looking forward to cheering you up. I wish you and your family love and happiness. Hope you feel better. Kielan

I’ve gone through the same thing Emily. My grandfather died in 2012 and it took me a whole month to get over it. The whole GT class is worried for you. We hope you feel better real soon. Nigel

I do not know what the next few days or weeks will bring. None of us do. We will all experience tragedy as we all experience love and joy. My prayer for Emily is that she will become strong and resilient. She will be the best she can be. She will love life again and feel joy. For now, we will be present with her in her grief.

Emily dot

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