During the days after my sister died, my mother and I received an abundant amount of flowers delivered to our home. In addition to the flowers delivered to our home, there were also many flower arrangements delivered to the church for my sister’s memorial service. Each flower arrangement was unique.
At first, the flowers were a delicate reminder for us that there was still some beauty left in the world. When you lose someone you love deeply, the vibrant world you once knew is lost, and all that remains is a vast dark stretch of seemingly never ending sorrow. Needless to say, grieving families are eternally grateful for any and all gifts, especially ones that help brighten the shadows of death that mask our once beautiful lives.
Losing my sweet sister just two and a half months ago has given me an insider perspective of the thoughts and emotions experienced by grieving families.
After a couple of weeks, the newness and excitement of my family’s loss wore off…for everyone except us. When all of the visitors, cards, and phone calls ceased, that’s when the true reality of the nightmare hits. The reality that my sister was never coming home. The reality that I never again would need to leave the door unlocked waiting for her to return home at night. The reality that my baby sister, who I had spent the past 19 years protecting, was dead…killed by a falling tree. It is at that time of the grieving process that us bereaved truly need support. The first couple weeks after losing a loved one are such a blur, and we are in such a state of shock, that the reality of the nightmare we are destined to live has yet to set in. It is also after the initial two weeks that everything we see, hear, and think becomes a painful reminder of the precious life that has been stolen from us…a beautiful life that we wanted to be a part of for so much longer than we were aloud.
When the overwhelming support of friends and family ends, it is also then that we begin to consciously notice that the world surrounding us falls back into normal routine and it truly feels as though everyone has forgotten about the life that we have lost…the life that we will never again share..the life that was so simply stopped in its’ tracks…the life that we once knew, is gone…forever.
My mother and I chose our piano, which my sister and I both played, to be the designated “Kacy shrine”. The special place where we spent hours making sure that all of the flowers, cards, and photos of my sister were arranged in such a way to reflect the beautiful, but all too short life, that my sister lived out.
After a couple of weeks, the once vibrant flowers that were delivered to help us celebrate my sister’s beautiful life, began to wilt. Then, petals from the wilted and lifeless flowers began falling to the floor. The mere thought of death, no matter how insignificant the creature, becomes more sacred than one could ever imagine after losing someone you loved so deeply. Even the tempting thought of squishing a pesky insect suddenly seems like an ultimate crime…and thoughts of that creature’s surviving family swell up in your mind, almost as fast as the tears begin to swell on the surface of your eyes. Watching the flowers die, the flowers that once served to remind us of the livelihood of our loved ones, only reminds us of how short this life truly is. The lifeless flowers then become a reminder of the lifeless body that we once watched live so exuberantly…the life that once was, that is no more.
As morbid as this all may seem, it is truth. Morbid thoughts are a part of grief; a part of grief that us bereaved wish we could erase, but cannot. Losing my sister is the most painful experience I have ever survived. Surviving such an excruciating loss is something I can only give credit to God for, because if I had been given the option, I would have given my own life just to know that my sweet sister could have lived one more day.
In the back of my mind, I know my sister is happier and more content than our limited minds can even begin to comprehend, but that doesn’t lessen the pain I feel every day. My hope for this post is that it will fine its’ way to someone who has lost a part of their heart…a chamber of their heart that was designated for a special someone…someone who has fallen a victim to the cruelty of this world like my family has. I hope that someone reading this can relate to the pain and yearning that I must live with. More than anything, I hope that any grieving readers will realize that they are not alone.