In recent weeks, two young men from my home town have died. They join the many thousands of young people across the country who have succumbed to accident, illness, depression, drugs, or violence. Their loved ones join the many thousands of grieving souls whose lives now contain an unfillable hole.
While we may all fear death to some degree, there is nothing more unnatural than a young person, full of life and promise, being gone – gone much too soon. One day they were teasing sisters or listening to their music too loud, and the next the silence deafens.
What can we bring to the loved ones of a life gone too soon? What possible solace can our words or actions hold? Some donate to a cure for the illness that caused death. Some establish organizations to prevent the deaths of others. Some take to the streets in anger and hurt. Some pray.
I utter their names: Ryan, Matthew, Grant, Emily. I pray that they are in a better place. I pray for their families, who somehow have to go on without a son or daughter, sister or brother, grandchild, niece, nephew. I pray for their friends and classmates, whose youthful feelings of invincibility have diminished a bit or who wonder how life can be so cruel.
What can we bring to a grieving soul? Ourselves. I saved an excellent blog post that can help friends and neighbors figure out how to be there for those who have lost a loved one. You can read it at the following link:
In the words of the great Romantic poet William Wordsworth:
“That though the radiance which was once so bright be now forever taken from my sight. Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, glory in the flower. We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind.”