In this short Life that only lasts an hour

How much – how little – is within our power

Emily Dickenson

Psychology Today article “Grieving the Death of an Adult Child” struck a familiar chord in me. I am mourning the death of my oldest son who died at age 50. My son was estranged from us for many years but never absent from my loving prayers. My family tried in many ways to find him but never succeeded. We received notification of his death from our local police department on a fateful Wednesday night. Learning from the officers that he was found unresponsive in his apartment was a shock. Everything about that night is etched sharply in my mind.

It is now nearly 2 months after his death. Most paper-work related to his death is completed, we received his papers, remains and the death certificates. The Remembrance service was last week. Creating the service program for our family, was a labor of love. Family from out of state came to offer us support. Having my son’s step brothers here with us filled me with a sense of gratitude. A week later, I find myself at a loss. Nothing left to do, no more preparations. My work is done but the sadness is ever-present. I never got to say, “Good by”, and “I love you” to my son. It is difficult to share about my son’s death. As a hospice chaplain, I have been at the bedside of many dear patients during their last hours in this physical existence. I officiated at funerals for the very old and for younger people and counseled families during their bereavement, yet in no way have these experiences lessened my own grief. I am not surprised by the shock I felt receiving the medical examiner’s report that my son died in a diabetic coma. Like many people whose loved one died in unusual circumstances I am embarrassed, an unexplainable shame comes over me, and I feel edgy talking about my son’s death. Most of the time I avoid talking about my son’s death. Although these are typical responses to the unexpected and unusual circumstances of the death of a loved one; now I recognize them in myself.

Several years ago, I became a widow back then and now, my younger son, daughter and her husband are my immediate sources of solace and comfort; together we have been initiated into the great mystery of birth and death. That someone we loved is now gone but lives in in our hearts. The greatest gifts in life are loving and being loved in return. I recommend to all who are coping with the death of a loved one, Love Knows No Death, a powerful and innovative Grief Transformation Self- help Workbook and Visual Program developed by Dr. Piero Calvi-developed by Dr. Piero Calvi-Parisetti.

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