July 18, 2010

Random Waves Of Grief

Some of you know that my Dad and I are the only surviving members of my nuclear family. My only sibling, a brother, died over 20 years ago at the age of 17; my mother died 12 years ago at the age of 50.

I don't spend time every day thinking about them. Gradually, as distance increases you move beyond that. Maybe that's a coping mechanism but I tend to think of it as a sacrifice to the busyness of daily life. I just don't have time to reflect upon the lives of the loved ones I've lost on a daily basis. I pray for them when I remember to do it. There, yes, that's what it comes to. I don't even remember to pray for them every time I pray. There was a time I did always remember; but, life goes on and so do I.

However, there are certain times of the year that if the grief is going to come there it is.

On July 6th my brother would have been 39. I usually think about him over the 4th of July holiday at some point. I always do. Many years, the Independence Holiday was rolled into his birthday celebration. I thought of him briefly as I was with my family over the 4th. It was a nice memory. However, as time passes, more and more members of my family never knew him or if they did they've assigned a sanctity to him that he, honestly, does not deserve (amazing how many become saints in death). My cousins who were very young or not even born when he died can barely remember him if at all. I'm sad for that and, yes, I'm angry about it. They don't know what he was or could have been. They were robbed, I was robbed. I was not conscious then of being angry but I need to be honest, it's there latent.

Today, before Mass the grief clobbered me and started to buckle me. I don't know where it came from. Suddenly, I felt like crying all over again. I can feel a niggling anger starting to come up. I was robbed. I've been robbed. D--- you, God! I loved him and you took him. Mercifully, this parish had two priests today and one was in the Confessional into the Mass. About midway thru the First Reading I got up and went to Confession. I'm so grateful for the availability. I don't think one should approach the Lord in anger.

Of course, this is Satan playing me. Normally, I'm not angry about the deaths of my loved ones. I figure God recognized they were fabulous and wanted them, or, perhaps it was part of His plan to teach the survivors (like me) a lesson. I truly believe I would not be who I am today, better or worse (hopefully better) without having lived thru what I did, without having my Mom and my brother in my life.

Grief lessens with time but it never totally goes away.


Blogger belinda said...


July 18, 2010 3:31 PM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

I'm suddenly thinking of the BeeGees - "You don't know what it's like, to love somebody..." LOL!

Seriously, excellent post - people don't know what it's like until they do lose someone.

July 18, 2010 4:37 PM  
Blogger Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

Oh, wow. This is a very moving post. I am 43 and I have never yet lost anyone close to me. I know it's inevitable (unless I go first!), and I have always wondered how I would cope, what it would be like. My best college friend just lost her mom and I have been walking that with her, but still, not the same.

And to lose a sibling so young... I think that's a whole different kind of grief.

Thank you for this. I prayed for your mom and brother today, and you.

July 18, 2010 4:43 PM  
Blogger nazareth priest said...

Grief is something we never really do get rid of; we learn to cope with it. You are doing just that.
I lost my grandparents (who were like my parents) at age 9. It has forever changed my life.
For the good.
For the bad.
God works it all out.
Love to you, Cathy...know that you are truly loved by many and most of all by the Lord. He's always there.

July 18, 2010 5:35 PM  
Blogger Adoro said...

Aww... :-( Yes, I know what that is like, I go through it too, although I haven't felt anger for a long time now.


Grief sucks big time. It's not like you can predict when it'll hit you and knock you on your a**

July 18, 2010 5:55 PM  
Blogger Sanctus Belle said...

I lost my sister in a car accident when she was 8. I identified with everything you said - about the grief coming in waves, often at unexpected times and the sting of the tears...

Virtually no one remembers her now. Except my parents, my brother, but we never ever speak of her. I find solace in praying for her. I've asked God to give me her entire purgatory. Goes something like this..."hear me Lord in the moments just prior to her death, place upon me her entire debt and let her feet not even brush the fires of purgatory for you saw fit to take her without the benifit of Last Rites so grant her this mercy..." well you get the idea.

Its the ONLY thing that helps and makes me feel like I'm still in relationship with her. I really we are still in relationship and I can be a good sister to her even though I will never see her in this life nor her smile, or her wedding or her kids...

Oh, there's that sting!

July 18, 2010 9:24 PM  
Blogger Angela M. said...

I've read that when those waves of grief come it's your loved one saying "don't forget me." You can reassure your brother and your mom that you never will.

July 18, 2010 11:40 PM  
Blogger Melody K said...

"I've read that when those waves of grief come it's your loved one saying "don't forget me." You can reassure your brother and your mom that you never will."
That's a beautiful thought!

I'm so sorry for your loss, Cathy!

July 19, 2010 6:21 PM  
Blogger Tom in Vegas said...

I have so many things to say here that I honestly don't know where to begin. But I will start by saying the words I heard Fr. Groeschel say a number of years ago: "Death is a robber." It seems trite and obvious but so true.

When I lost my grandmother last year a felt a series of emotions that are practically incommunicable. There's absolutely no way that I can formulate an accurate sentence that will adequately describe them to other individuals. I do feel a surge of those feeling here and there as time passes.

We're not saints (yet), so grief can take a lot out of us. Also, is it so bad to be angry with God? When I get angry with him, I just think of it as him offering me a shoulder to cry on, while at the same time embracing me. That's how I would describe anger at God.

July 19, 2010 9:25 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

I'm sorry...

July 19, 2010 10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awww, (((((Cathy)))))). God bless you, you soft hearted sweetie you.

Sniff, sniff.

I know what it is like, too. :(

July 19, 2010 11:43 PM  

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