Three weeks ago, my sister-in-law’s 24 year old brother died. There are still many questions about his death and the level of unresolved tension grows higher with each passing moment. He had been sick since birth, by all means should not have survived en-utero or childhood or adolescence…you get the idea. There were many times when family members held their breaths wondering if he would survive.
And then one day, his step-dad came home and found him unconscious in his bed. There was an empty bottle of pills, blood in the bathroom, and blood coming from his mouth. No one knows what his last moments were like. Hopefully he was at peace, resting in his bed, and unafraid.
Now the journey begins for those left behind. My poor sister-in-law and her family are deep in the throws of grief. They want to push through it so that it’s over as soon as possible. The pain, the despair, the lack of sleep, the vanishing appetite. The never-ending void in the center of the chest that aches constantly. Is there a prayer or routine that makes it easier? Is there a book or a mantra or anything to make the hurt disappear?
As for the rest of us, we’re victims of helplessness. We want desperately to help ease the pain, heal the wound. We say trite expressions, offer prayers, cook meals, hold hands, and sit in silence just hoping something, anything provides a moment of relief. It just pisses me off…all of it. I’m angry that I can’t do anything substantial to remove this burden. The hardest part of being human is grieving for the ones we love. We never ‘get over it’…we just simply learn to live differently.
I have grieved but nothing like this. Grief is as unique as sunrises and sunsets. Every person embraces it differently and it’s impossible to create a unified heal-all method for this shitty, unfair process. We have to face the fact that ultimately, there’s nothing we can do to abate the pain other than showing love. Love in any form and every form for as long as it takes. In time, they’ll learn to walk and breathe again and our helpless, angry feeling will begin to subside.