Spent the early part of the day going to the wake of a friend’s dad. He died at the age of 87 last Tuesday. When someone leaves us in this world, we talk of the happy memories, the good times that we remember of our deceased relative. We always talk of the times that we remember the most in our hearts, we talk of the caring ways, the love and care, the gentle touch of a loving dad to his kids and the great love he showed our own mother.
I remembered Dad vividly in my mind while I was praying for Paul’s father. Letting go is not that easy. We always think we are prepared for any eventualities that may happen but when it is a close member of our family, we cannot just ignore the deep pain we feel, the sense of loss we experience. Even if we say that we have accepted everything even before we lose a loved one, there is that tight knot of pain that surrounds our hearts. Tere, another common friend who was with me at the wake intently listened to us exchange thoughts and ideas about death. I told Paul that he could still laugh, joke around with us because he can still see his father right in front but after the burial when everyone has left and it’s only the family facing each other, you feel empty, there is that deep void that no one can fill. Your thoughts would slowly unlock all the lovely things you hold dear when your father was still alive. Acceptance is one thing but what is important is allowing yourself to grieve so you would heal the pain of emptiness within.
Saying goodbye is not without its tears. You experience all kinds of difficult emotions that sometimes you think the sadness would never let up. They say that there is really no wrong or right way to grieve. It may take a year or two or you feel the loss the rest of your life. We are not only talking about death here but of other circumstances when our emotions are deeply affected. And then we ask ourselves, “is there a normal timetable for grief?” I don’t think so because it is a personal thing. Some of us may cope well because we make ourselves busy, it lightens the burden when we share it with close relatives and friends. Ignoring what you feel would just make you miserable. Real healing takes place when we face our fears. It’s normal to cry, but it does not mean that you don’t feel the loss when you don’t.
Time heals. It is a slow dance of remembrance and unlocking of precious memories you hold in your heart. Then you will smile at the thought that you have those precious memories to keep you warm.