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How does one mourn the loss of one's brother?

God weeps with us so that we may one day laugh with him.
Jürgen Moltmann

I can't bring myself to say, "Tim died."  He didn't die; he merely passed onto eternal life where he's more alive than I.  So I say, "Tim passed."  Then I don't get weird looks as though I've not accepted Tim's departure from earth.  I don't get into a lengthy theological discussion unless the conversation's headed that direction and I honor Tim's continued existence.

Immediately following Tim's passing, the question reverberating around my head was, "how does one mourn the loss of one's brother?"  Mourning is a uniquely personal experience.  Abolish rules and social constraints.  I break down in tears when I need to, without apologies.  At first, I cried about all the things Tim would miss such as the birth and fathering of his child.  But when I considered all the things Tim might be doing now, such as training in heaven to be God's soldier (that's a story best told by Mom), it seemed that Tim might be engrossed in his new activities while those of us left behind would be the ones intensely missing his participation here on earth.  Now I cry about Tim never meeting Miriam on this earth.  I cry about never backpacking in Patagonia together or taking our kids to India together.  I cry about not being able to call him on the car ride home.  I cry about never singing "Kryptonite"with Tim nor hearing him say, "big blue sky with little puffy clouds" to me.  I miss all those little inside jokes.

In my composed moments, I think of Tim watching everything taking place on earth and I wonder what he would say.  For example, Dad, John, Miriam, and I went to see the Counting Crows.  Although Dad and Tim used to play Counting Crows' albums for hours at a time, the live performance was bad.  Dad and I laughed about how Tim probably already knew the show would be bad.  Sometimes I have these kinds of conversations with Tim though, admittedly, they are always one-way.  I don't hear from Tim like I sometimes hear from God.

I wrote all the above a couple months ago.

Now, I'm seeing a counselor.  She asked me yesterday, "Do you know how to grieve?"  Hmm, I suppose I don't.  She recommended a book about grieving.  She recommended writing about Tim (thus, the completion of this blog).  She recommended talking about Tim.  She listened, too.  She listened a lot.  She asked me to describe Tim.  She said he sounds like a wonderful man.  He is!  She gave me permission to speak about Tim in the present tense.  As if I needed permission!  But you know what? Affirmation from someone outside the situation helped.

I began reading the recommended book, How to Survive the Loss of a Love, and recognized my recent behaviors in the laundry list of grief's impacts: feeling empty, experiencing a loss of concentration, a tendency to be slower in speech.  While grief remains an intensely personal experience, perhaps I can learn how to grieve.

1 comment:

Becky B. said...

hugs. I miss you dear Sarah <3 love.