Tuesday, December 9, 2014

SOL - Grief

I do not normally share difficult personal stories here; I tend to focus on the more positive stories, the ones that are easier to write. My usual reaction when things are tough is to hibernate and withdraw. However, this piece begged to be written, so I am going to try to give it justice.

I have experienced grief, sorrow, and sadness at many times of my life, but my most recent encounter with grief has profoundly changed me. Friends of ours lost their 16 year old son. He was delightful - full of laughter, humor, spirit, and lots of orneriness. When he walked in a room, his engaging ways could make us smile, even when we didn't feel like it.

One day he was here; the next day he was gone. Any parent who has lost a child knows this isn't the "natural" order of things. Our children should outlive us, and when they don't, we are filled with a hole in our lives that leaves us inconsolable.

That feeling is what our friends are currently experiencing. Their grief is a living, breathing thing; it has a life of its own. I was with them at the calling hours, the funeral, and even at their home when we all sat around, cried, hugged each other, and told some stories about this child.  We held on to each other, trying to make sense of something that defies all logic.

The fact that they are our friends has me grieving, but another layer to this story is that I also had this child as a student. For about 175 days one year, we spent time learning from each other in our classroom. I imparted my knowledge about being a reader and writer, but I learned a lot from him about how to embrace life. He loved his family, his sports, his friends, and anything Cleveland. When his parents are ready, I have many "M" stories to share that will allow us to laugh and cry together.

He was life force all of his own, and now he's gone.

That fact has many reeling - his friends (a multitude of students from all 3 high schools in our community), his coaches, his teachers, his neighbors, his teammates, his extended family, his brothers, his mom, and his dad. The grief is real.

Learning how to live without "M" - that is a grief his parents are feeling, and the hard road they now need to travel. The best any of us, as friends, can do is to stand along the road to support them in whatever way needed.

Thanks to the ladies at Two Writing Teachers for hosting the Tuesday Slice of Life. Head on over there to read even more "slices" that others wrote.


  1. It's one of those times we rail against, Karen. I'm sorry for your friends' loss, and for yours, too. A year ago a colleague's daughter died and it is a journey we took with her, but standing with her is all we could do, as you so lovingly wrote. Hugs to you in this sad time.

  2. So sorry for your friends' loss, Karen, and for your own.

  3. Aw, rough stuff, Karen. Thank you for sharing this sad slice of life so eloquently. A reminder of how fragile it all is sometimes.

  4. Oh, Karen, I'm so, so sorry. What a hard road you all must walk. As you said, all you can do is be there with them. Sending love and prayers your way.

  5. Hugs. Writing is healing, processing, and making sense of your world even when there are no answers and time is needed. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Karen, I am so very sorry to hear this. This type of grief is a sorrow that lengthens beyond words, though you have written about it with heart wrenching beauty. This family is so fortunate to call you friend. You and others can help them see that the heavy weight of grief becomes lighter when it is carried together.

    Keeping you and M's family in my prayers.

  7. I stopped by to wish the both of you a happy holiday, and then read this. Beautiful, heartfelt, tragic. I'm so sorry, not much more I can say. I think you've got to keep being that good friend, long after the initial shock has passed -- and I know you will be.

  8. Karen~
    I am so sorry to hear this, a loss this great is forever. Reading your post reminds me to hug longer and share love more.
    You're a true gift to your friends- God Bless you all!