Grief After Death

Flowers at Grandpa's Funeral
Flowers at Grandpa's Funeral | Source

Grieving the Loss of a Loved One

Grief is an individual emotion that cannot be captured or conveniently explained. When a loved one passes away, the finality of never again being able to see that person, hold them in your arms, laugh with them, or share secrets is a deeply personal experience. I believe that it matters not whether the death was sudden and unexpected, or following a long illness. The depth of love for the departed soul leaves a chasm in the living's heart.

Each and every minute of every day, a mother loses a child. A brother loses a sibling. A parent loses his or her own parent. We could allow ourselves to become overwhelmed by the losses, or hardened by their inevitability. But we are human, and we share our experiences, connected through humankind.

What can you do to ease the pain and sadness of a person who is grieving?

Love them. Hug them. Offer condolences. Do not offer platitudes. Listen. Do all of this often. Call them. Sit with them. Write to them. Offer help with everyday routines. Do not rush them through grieving.

What Have You found Helpful in Your Own Grief?

I lost my beloved grandfather last fall, just shy of his 94th birthday. Although he was an elderly man, we were able to share some life-end discussions. We both knew the end was near. Four months later, I am struck by how deep the loss is still felt in my life. I miss him so greatly, and the tears spring up at the most unexpected times. Watching "The Sound of Music," for example, one of his favorite movies. The words to his favorite song, "What a Wonderful World," by Louis Armstrong are striking. I wonder sometimes, what I would do, if I lost one of my children. My mind cannot go there. This is painful enough.

I pray, I meditate, I laugh, but mostly I still cry. Sometimes really hard. I don't know when the hurt will stop. Maybe it won't, but I hope it will soften a bit.

Share the Story: Your Loved One Lives On

My grandfather was born in a tiny town in Texas. Even today, the town is comprised of less than 500 inhabitants. No birth certificate was issued when he was born. He grew up in poverty - shoes were a luxury. We joked about how he was the "barefoot boy from Texas." Eventually, his parents sent him away to live with his aunt and uncle on a high school scholarship to learn the dry cleaning business. He was a fantastic baseball player too. But the players worked for the mill sponsors. And grandpa lost the tops of several of his fingers in a mill accident - losing his minor league career, as well.

Eventually, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Washington State. He met my grandmother there and fell in love. They married within a week, and then he was off to the South Pacific. He never told us many details of his tour there, except to assure us that it was hot, and it was bad. When he returned two years later, Grandma and Grandpa lived in the same house for 64 years. They had 4 children, 13 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren (so far).

Grandpa ran a successful dry-cleaning business for many years and was very active in the community. Up until 3 years ago, he even drove a truck for Meals on Wheels, delivering to seniors younger than him! He was a kind person, a flirt, and just about everyone that knew him loved him. Grandpa was active in Eastern Star and the Masonic organization. When the Eastern Star organization held a service for him following the funeral, he garnered a standing ovation! It warms my heart to know that he was special to so many others, besides just me and my family.

I look to the sky in the early morning, and early evening and think of him. I know that he's with us. Its not the same. But I am blessed to have had the gift of his life, and his memories will be with me always.

Sunset over Central Oregon
Sunset over Central Oregon | Source

Beautiful Words for a Loved One that has Passed

Life is Eternal

I am standing upon the seashore.

A ship at my side spreads his white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.

He is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch him until at length he hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.

Then someone at my side says, "There! he's gone."

Gone where? Gone from my sight - that is all.

He is just as large in mast and hull and spar as he was when he left my side, and just as able to bear his load of living freight to the place of destination.

His diminished size is in me, not in him; and just at the moment when someone at my side says, "There! He's gone," there are other eyes watching him coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, "There he comes!"

In Memory of Frank W. Burleson 1913 -2007
In Memory of Frank W. Burleson 1913 -2007 | Source

Grieving a Loved One

Eulogy for a Veteran

Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.

I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush,

I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight,

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there, I did not die.

What a Wonderful World

by Louis Armstrong

I see trees of green........ red roses too

I see 'em bloom..... for me and for you

And I think to myself.... what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue..... clouds of white

Bright blessed days....dark sacred nights

And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world.

The colors of a rainbow.....so pretty ..in the sky

Are also on the faces.....of people ..going by

I see friends shaking hands.....sayin'.. how do you do

They're really sayin'......I love you.

I hear babies cry...... I watch them grow

They'll learn much more.....than I'll never know

And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world

The colors of a rainbow.....so pretty ..in the sky

Are there on the faces.....of people ..going by

I see friends shaking hands.....sayin'.. how do you do

They're really sayin'... I ....love....you.

I hear babies cry...... I watch them grow

you know their gonna learn

A whole lot more than I'll never know

And I think to myself .....what a wonderful world

Yes I think to myself .......what a wonderful world.

© 2008 Stephanie Hicks

More by this Author


Comments 36 comments

amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut

Hi Steph, this is a beautiful hub, great advice, and a lovely tribute to your Grandfather. Thanks for sharing a bit of your heart :)


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thank you Amy Jane. I am so happy to share just a small piece of his specialness with you all.


cristina327 profile image

cristina327 8 years ago from Manila

Indeed a great hub. Thank you for sharing the beautiful story of our grandfather.


Froggy213 profile image

Froggy213 8 years ago from On A Mountain In Puerto Rico

A wonderful hub-thank you!


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thank you for reading Christina and Froggy!


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago

Steph,,,,,,what can I say? We both share a profound loss, yet are able to carry on, and be a comfort where and when we can to others. I especially love how true it is that our loved ones are alive as long as they are in our hearts. You brought back many fond memories of my own grandparents, who I worshipped. I spent many days with them, both paternal and maternal. I didn't get to see my paternal grandmother often as she lived in OK, and I live in NJ. But those times were always special, as they remain today in my memory.

Thank you for a beautifully written hub,

your friend,

Patty


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Oh Patty, thank you so much! It means so much to me to be able to share the stories - and I can see the same aspect in your own hubs. Thank you for sharing your wonderful thoughts. All the best to y ou- Steph


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 8 years ago

Thanks Steph,,,,,isn't it great meeting such nice people on here? So much better than a 'chatroom' LOL,,,

take care,

Patty


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

I can't agree more! Have a super day, Patty!


briskar 8 years ago

What a Wonderful World - I love this song

Great hub. Thanks

http://hubpages.com/misc/funeralreadings


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Thanks for sharing Steph. I remember also writing an article about my grandma after she passed away. I remember crying while typing. But writing and sharing about her made me truly see how beautiful the memories we shared and i'm ever grateful for this. Time and time again, I find myself shedding tears after her death. It does get better in time. Hugs to you.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Michelle, thank you so much. I am very sad with Father's Day approaching. It is so nice to be able to share with other people how special another person is to you! I so appreciate your words of support, and deepest sympathy for your loss of your grandma. Hugs to you too! Steph


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

By the way Steph, like your grandpa, my favorite movie is the sound of music too. :)


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

I KNEW you were extra special, Michelle! (my cousin Michelle shared a birthday with my grandpa - so there is definitely a connection!) :-)


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

I memorized all the songs and even the lines!  Hahahah  Your grandpa must be proud of you Steph. I believe that with all my heart.


robie2 profile image

robie2 8 years ago from Central New Jersey

Not only does your grandfather still live in your heart--but now a bit of him lives in ours too because you wrote about him. Thanks for sharing him with us.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Awww... you guys! You made me cry again! Thank you for such lovely thoughts.


Madison Parker profile image

Madison Parker 8 years ago from California

Steph,

Your words are so beautiful. Your Grandfather must have been quite a guy! How blessed you are to have known him when you were a grownup, so many of us lost our grandparents when we were children. I still miss my amazing grandmother who died when my youngest child was three. It's almost Christmastime and Grandma handmade my Christmas ornaments in her later years. Every year, it's like having a part of her spirit here for Christmas!

I'm looking forward to reading your other hubs.

Madison


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 8 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Madison,

Thank you - grandparents are indeed so special and I think their loss is especially felt as it represents a bit of childhood slipped away. I love the story about your grandmother making Christmas ornamens for your children. Last year, we put a Texas Star ornament on the tree to represent Grandpa Frank's roots from the Lone Star state. I wish you peace and joy this Christmas and with your memories of your grandmother. Steph


josephdiego profile image

josephdiego 7 years ago from Eastern Long Island , New York

The Question is, Did we lose them or did we gain them? They lived a life time but died only once...

http://hubpages.com/misc/How-does-one-overcome-the...


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi josephdiego - we passed the one-year anniversary of my grandfather's death a few weeks ago. Tomorrow is his birthday. He certainly lives on in our hearts. We definitely gained quite a bit from his life. :) cheers, Steph


Funeral Readings Guru 7 years ago

Brilliant article. Love this page.


srhgompf profile image

srhgompf 7 years ago from Roseburg Oregon

I lost my Dad in December 2008. I know what you mean about movies, songs or everyday things in life causing sadness and longing for the deceased loved one. One thing that is helping me is attending grief groups sponsored by Hospice.

I'm journaling about my grief. It helps to make it clearer, honor my Dad and move through the hurting.

Great Hub.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi srhgompf,

I am sorry to hear about your recent loss. It sounds like you are taking positive steps to help yourself through the grief. Journaling about your dad is a wonderful idea.

Best to you, Steph


Shane Belceto profile image

Shane Belceto 7 years ago from WA USA

Oh my gosh!

Here I was listening to this great HUB thinking what a great granpa sounds a lot like mine. I even found out last week and never knew while in the Army my grandpa played baseball up until the war started. And like yours he didn't talk about it ... he came back to the states stepped into a store to purchase blue jeans and a T and left his Army uniform there in the dressing room doing what he could to leave the war behind him. The bear foot part too right on the money ... then I hear "Frank" at the end ... how super cool we almost did have the same grandpa's.

Thank YOU for sharing this is helpful for me now having lost my Frank last week. HUGS to YOU!

~Expect Miracles


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 7 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Hi Shane, what wonderful memories we have. I am indeed sorry at your loss of your Grandpa Frank. It brings tears to my eyes again.

May you find peace and joy in the time you had together. Steph


Shane Belceto profile image

Shane Belceto 7 years ago from WA USA

Thank YOU .. yes most definently wonderful memories full of joy and piece.   Plus with the tribute card and yesterdays HUB etc. I am able to also share these memories and time with him and the world on the great WWW just as you are doing here.   Thank YOU for your kind words and support.   Together we cry and grow.   

~Expect Miracles


carolegalassi profile image

carolegalassi 7 years ago from California

Thanks for sharing about grandfathers. Grandpa's are great souls and I'm proud to say mine was just as special with the patience of a saint. I only have fond memories of my grandfather who passed away from cancer almost 40 years ago! But his memory is still vivid even to this day so many years later.


DancingRedFeather profile image

DancingRedFeather 7 years ago

Being a native, dying is a natural process for us. Since also the Christian Bible says that we will all ressurect and be together again..then why all the grief when one dies?

If the ressurrection is true..then why cry if someone dies? Actually the Bible says that for God we are just *asleep* and will wake up the dead at the appropriate time. So why all the grief? We are just gone on a vacation from the troubles of the world. We should be happy instead and rejoice that we will meet again and have a pure spirit body that won't die or rot in a grave.

So if it is true, why all the crying when someone is gone to rest?

We don't cry when someone is gone on a vacation as we know they will return..same thing with death..we will return at the appointed time and meet again.

That is how I treat my mom and dad's death..they are resting as if on vacation and one day they will return and we will be together again.


Joanne Funch 7 years ago

thank you for sharing such a lovely story about your grandfather. It is so true grief is individual and no one knows about this journey until they reach it.

You obviously have wonderful memories that you will keep with you forever.

It is a wonderful world isn't it!


michelle 6 years ago

My dad went home to Gods heaven December 3, 2009. I can't stand it. I cry. The last words to him were "dad...let Jesus take the wheel and I will see you tomorrow". He responded with tears rolling down his face. Then they wheeled him off to surgery. Just the week or so befor that he played 18 holes of golf. I miss him. I want him back. Just to tell him Happy Birthday dad on December 5, 2009 he would have been 78. December 25, 2009 Merry Christmas. December 31, 2009, 12:01 Happy New Year Dad. He hugged me when my son was born. He hugged me when he found out I had breast cancer. He hugged me when my husband had an affair. He hugged me when I stubbed my toe. He hugged me before he left to see God. He huggs me.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Michelle, what lovely words and memories you have of your Dad. I am truly so sorry to hear of your loss. You are lucky to have had such a wonderful, loving Father. Peace and healing, Stephanie


samboiam profile image

samboiam 6 years ago from Texas

"I look to the sky in the early morning, and early evening and think of him. I know that he's with us. Its not the same. But I am blessed to have had the gift of his life, and his memories will be with me always."

That brought tears to my eyes. I have linked this hub to one of my own. In The Grip Of Darkness. If you prefer I would not please let me know and I will make the change.


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon Author

Thank you samboiam - such a difficult topic to address. I appreciate your thoughts and love your new hub. Best, Steph


Kristen 4 years ago

My granpa passed on last month he waz such a great man he cud fix anything jst abt anytin u name it


lourdes 3 years ago

I lost a Son- In November28, 2008 . He was murdered I was depressed all the time. I won't say I'm better, But I understand more.. He would have been 29 on October .. He joined the Army National Guard.. it was the hardest thing for me to go through.. I will say this you will grieve till you go to heaven....

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working