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April 2017

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harebell

Loss

This weekend, I’ve been mourning the sudden death of a good friend. I’ve been debating whether to blog about this, since this blog is largely about writing and I tend not to say much about my personal life. Also, I have found the greatest consolation in talking about this with the people who also knew my friend.

But writing is inextricably bound with the emotions that make us human. I have been finding solace in my writing—in what I have already written and what I am writing now. I’ve even found myself turning to the pages of my own book, which is in part about grief and loss—the loss of a different kind of relationship, to be sure, but still loss. I remember that one of my early critiquers questioned this passage:

“I knew then. But some part of me didn’t believe it, and in the days after that I kept waiting for more information, waiting for the story to change. Even when everybody knew she was dead, when the obituary came out and the funeral was scheduled, I kept expecting to see her ...”

Would the character, asked my critiquer, really be in such denial? I didn’t hesitate to say yes, having experienced it with other losses, and I’ve been living the truth of it all over again. I have been going in and out of that same denial all weekend.

This is one reason I read, and one reason I write: to share the emotions and experiences common to all of us.

My friend was one of those people who brought joy to everyone who knew her, the kind of person who’s always giving, and doing for others, and thinking of others. She was at my wedding, and we shared walks and birthday celebrations and countless other occasions. She cheered on my writing career; she took care of my cat when I was away. That joy is my other consolation: having given so much of it to all of us, she would not want us to throw it away. So I feel cheated to have lost her and lucky to have known her, both at the same time.

Comments

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I'm sorry for your loss
Thank you.
Losing a good friend is like losing a piece of yourself. It's painful. I wish you healing and the blessing of good memories.

Carol Garvin
Thanks for your kind words.
I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm glad you can find healing in your work. *hug*
Thank you.
I know some people think of the arts as frivolous, as icing on the cake, but for me they're an emotional necessity. Words help me cope with life.
I'm so sorry for your loss.
Thank you, Jessica.
I'm deeply sorry for your loss.
Thanks, I appreciate that.
I'm very sorry for your loss.
Thank you, Janet.
Oh Jenn, I'm so sorry. She sounds like a wonderful person and friend.
Thank you, Lisa. She was, and we all miss her, yet I feel like a part of her is still here with us through what we remember.
Denial like that is absolutely real. I lost a friend recently as well. I expect and hope every day that someone will tell me it was a mistake. She left such a void. You have my sincere condolences.
Thank you. And yes, I've discovered I'm not the only one hoping for an "oops--she's still with us after all" message.
That is a beautiful and elequent eulogy. Denial is a large part of grief - it cannot be avoided.

I'm sorry for your loss, I felt it in your words.
Thank you. I can't hope to do her justice with words, but the words are somewhat helpful to me, anyway.
I am so sorry for your loss. A friend died this summer after a four month stay in the hospital. I keep thinking of things to tell him. I know what you man about the double edge.
I'm sorry for yours as well, and thank you for your message.
I'm so sorry for your loss.
Thank you. I appreciate your thoughts.
Take care, Jenn!!!
Thank you, Deena.
Jenn, I'm so sorry to hear of your loss.
Thank you.
Oh, wow, that's hard. Often the "sudden" part of a great loss leaves us feeling like we're hanging mid-sentence. And I understand denial. Hugs to you.
Yes, that unfinished feeling, exactly. Thanks so much for your message.
I'm really sorry for your loss, Jenn. I'm thinking of you. <3 She sounds like such a wonderful, caring person.
Thank you, Rachel, I appreciate it.
I'm so sorry, Jenn. Hugs.
Thank you.
I'm so sorry for your loss-sending warm thoughts your way.

I do think that words have healing powers and reading and writing can be wonderful things.
Thank you. And yes, writing helps so much.
Jenn, I'm so sorry for your loss. I think that paragraph says it beautifully--I know there's nothing we can do from here, but sending hugs and caring through the blogosphere anyway.
I appreciate it, Becky!
I am so very sorry to hear about your loss. And I understand the denial thing - it's been years and years now since my friend Matthew died, and I still can't get past it. It's especially hard when people die before their time.

Many hugs to you.
Hugs right back, my friend.
Oh Jenn, I am so sorry for your loss. You expressed your feelings so beautifully but I expect that you will continue to turn them over and over again in your mind and in your heart.

Hugs.
Thank you, Susan. And Cassie! :-) (Pets help, too.)
I am so sad for your loss. You can have multiple feelings at one time (appreciation for the time and anger for the ending). Denial is part of the cycle. It took me a year to remove my grandmoter's home phone number from my cell phone. I knew no one would answer it . . . denial. It is powerful.

*hugs*
Oh, yes--I so understand that phone number thing! Thanks for your message.
Dear Jenn, so sorry to hear your sad news. She sounds like a lovely person. Treasure those memories.
She was and I will. Thank you, Marina.
((hugs)) to you, Jenn. Words help me cope with grief, too -- recently lost my aunt, and three weeks later, Len lost his uncle. My good memories of them are comforting, and I hope you also find much comfort in those you have of your friend.
Thanks, Jama, and best wishes to you too!
((hugs)) I am so sorry for the loss of your friend.
Thank you, Rhonda.
I'm so sorry. She sounds like a wonderful friend.

And yes, your passage was right on with what I felt last year and still sometimes feel now.

Many hugs.
Thanks so much for your message. It's helpful to know that others have some of the same feelings.
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