|Warmest Greetings Teresa !
Your story resonated. You never 'completely' get over the loss of a parent or immediate family member that you love. Although time helps to heal, the pain never goes away, not completely. Here's a letter that reflects how I felt, how I still feel about the loss of my younger brother, age 31, in 1988 -
Dear Little Brother,
I’ve been feeling quite somber the past week. Your birthday is coming up soon, and the thought of your absence, 32 years later, still fills my throat--and I’m forced to swallow hard. It never gets any easier. An all-too-familiar dip in my stomach tells me despair is rushing to overflow my banks; the rough annual kick in the gut. It’s easier to ignore the reality, but this year was not the case.
I thought I had mastered the art of ignoring my reality. Some years I had the strength to deny the incident, but this year, I couldn’t. The older I get, the absence of you in my life becomes more prevalent.
This roller coaster of emotions continued for a long time. I was often confused. I desperately wanted to ‘figure it out,’ and understand the great meaning so that somehow I could experience peace and love in my own heart again.
I am slowly understanding that it was simply time for your spirit to move on from the body you were in. Your spirit is still very much alive to this day, and I experience evidence of that regularly. The key is for me to stay open to see it.
As time passes, I also realize there is actually so much beauty in grief. It helps us realize just how enormous our love can be--which is ultimately why it can hurt so intensely to say goodbye to that person in the form that we knew them.
That is why it hurts even more for me. It’s no secret that I bottle everything up. I never wanted to talk about your passing to anyone. I also never wrote about it for the longest time, because in all honesty, I didn't want sympathy. I wanted to be alone in my pain, and to stay connected to you in any and all ways possible. The opinions and, "oh my gosh, I can’t imagine" moments were not all that welcome out of what seemed like self-preservation.
But that’s all changed now. 32 years later, I feel like I am ready--ready to talk about you, as well as talk about you with others who have tragically lost their loved one(s). I want to show you that through fragility, I have become a stronger person--more able to understand, more able to listen and to care. Because of my hurt due to loss, I've become a wiser person.
I want you to be known. I want you to be celebrated. I want you to be cherished and loved by the people I love as well, because I know you would have been a fantastic human being, and a great brother.
I write this open letter with so much love in my heart for you.
Love you to heaven and back,
Your proud older brother