On losing a loved one

A personal account

Image: Erik-Jan Leusink

I’m at the age where I’m noticing more and more of my same-aged peers are starting to enter the phase of their lives where they’re faced with standing alongside loved ones through their death and transition. Not only that, but for whatever reason, it seems to be coming up more and more here with my Medium friends.

I was dealt the cards where I experienced death very closely from a young age. My mom made her passing when I was 16. Several aunts and uncles made theirs — as well as all of my grandparents — before I turned 30. And my dad passed when I was 34.

Death and I are close, indeed. We’ve had heated conversations, several times. As much personal experience as I have with death, when someone else goes through it with a loved one, I’m at a loss for what to say to make it ‘better’. It pains me to see them hurt each and every time and I wish there were magic words I could just utter to make the pain go away.

This, I’d say, is the divine dichotomy of death. It’s beautiful in that it hurts. I mean, would it really be appropriate to make it ‘better’? If you could snap your fingers and immediately feel awesome in the face of a loved one’s passing, would you?

I wouldn’t... To me, grieving and crying and punching walls and gnashing teeth feels totally appropriate and fulfilling.

I digress…

A few years ago, I wrote about the passing of my father. It was the grittiest, ugliest, most corporeal loss I’d ever encountered. The piece was the first time I shared anything this personal in public.

I posted it long before I started writing on Medium, so it didn’t reach as much of a crowd, but those who did read it told me how much it helped them work through their loss. Not in the ‘Here’s how to do it’ fashion, but the ‘I’ve been there too’ fashion.

Solidarity is the most soothing balm of loss.

I moved the story to Medium when I first started writing here, but again, not many people saw it. Just the other day, I realized it wasn’t under the Higher Thoughts publication, so I moved it there. However, it’s dated so far back that it’s not anywhere near the top.

So I thought it might be timely to re-share it here. Like many of my musings, it’s not a how-to post. It’s a personal account of a soul-wrenching time. If you happen to be going through a devastating event such as this, I hope you’ll see that you’re not alone.

Also know that deep suffering is the only thing besides Love that opens us up to transformation. Without our lives being torn apart, they’re impossible to rebuild. But from the rubble of loss, one can reconstruct a temple in honor of the one who’s fallen at our feet.

Here’s my story…


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Jonas writes short daily stories and preachments on the daily here in Higher Thoughts. Get one to enjoy with your coffee every morning by subscribing below.