Sunday, October 12, 2014

Processing a Loss

This will be different. Today I find it hard to write. I want to affirm my faith in God the Father, my appreciation for the love of the Son, and my gratitude for the power of the Spirit,  and yet, I am nearly paralyzed by sadness. I want to say something meaningful. But I feel empty and numb. Perhaps you can allow me to try to figure some things out.

Someone special to me died on Friday, but we did not see each other often. We have only been together once in the last ten years and had no plans to see each other anytime soon. I think my feelings come from many good times we spent in years past and the bonding of hearts that occurred then. Perhaps, they come from knowing we will not, in this world, be able to have dinner, or even coffee, again and relive those days. And now there is no chance we will be able to build on those times.  

I think my feelings come even more so from the empathy I feel for his family as they are dealing with the shocking, random death of a healthy, vigorous man immersed in a faith project he dearly loved. While he and I had no plans to get together, they surely had many plans. Every day they will feel that hole in their lives. And I suspect they will have days when they ask, “Why?” But no answer will come.

There is much more to think about, say and write, but this much is getting me more in touch.

Epicurus famously wrote, “Why should I fear Death? If I am, then death is not. If Death is, then I am not. Why should I fear that which can only exist when I do not?” I do not fear death either, but not for the reason the philosopher gives. However, not fearing death is one thing, but not being affected by death is quite another. I am affected by death that intrudes into our world, particularly when it comes to those I knew and loved. Jesus was (remember Lazarus and his sisters).

With the help of God and being strengthened by his grace, I can,and I must, overcome the paralyzing effect of my friend’s death. I must come out of my numbness,  not so I will feel better, and not even so I can want to write, but so I can give to those, who much more than I, need a comforting, loving word or just a hug at a difficult time. Like others who appreciated my friend, I have to process my sense of loss, but ever keeping in mind "it is not about me."


  1. Sorry Tom, not sure if you received my comment so will send it again.

    Sometimes those who give selflessly to others need to be given to. Last week a sister who is well known to be a "giving" sister came over to visit my wife. Unfortunately, Nancy has a long term health condition which causes a very deep depression and yet when this sister came over my wife gave so much that this sister commented that she came expecting to be giving only to be given to. Tom, you have given so much and I just want to say how much we appreciate you and love you. You do not know me personally, yet you have had such an impact on so many. Thank you

  2. With the support of my immediate family and a wonderful disciple life coach I am healing from the loss of my father last year, and the anticipated loss of my mother in the near future. Grief is numbing at first and it is overwhelming to try to process all of the stuff fighting to get to the surface at the same time. I'm sure there was something about this person that resonated deeply with you, and also with your issues with loss, etc. You may want to search out these things and meditate on them. It would give substance to your grief and then let you grieve with the family who lost him. I would think that would honor his memory and would support the family's grief as well. 2 Cor. 1:2-4! (It is about you too!)

  3. Tom, what a touching entre. Thank you for sharing, I am sure it must be hard. We all have gone through and will go through a loss in our lives. May God and Jesus be our strength and the one to cry out to. Your in my prayers.

  4. Tom, the heaviness of your heart is evident in your words. It seems an unjust curse that those who care the most for others must experience so much pain at their passing while those who shut away their hearts seemingly insulate themselves from such agony. But the Father did not intend us to so guard ourselves. On the contrary, it seems to be His strange, yet divine, plan that we all experience the misery of loss while in this life. Why is this cruel inevitability written into our human story? I do not know other than perhaps it is a way to better understand His heart, or maybe a vehicle by which to draw closer to Him out of a broken spirit. Whatever the reason, I believe that suffering allows us a special bond with our fellow man that can only be forged though empathy. That being said, I am saddened to hear of the loss of your friend. You & his family will be in my prayers.