Just 6 days before my 21st birthday, I lost my father to cancer.
That was nearly 4 years ago.
The loss of a parent or other very close individual is indescribable.
Grief is a curious thing. Sometimes you go through the day, thinking fondly of your loved one or even joking around about them (good-naturedly of course) and other days you feel an overwhelming sadness… A literal ache in your chest that soon overcomes your entire body as if your emotional pain must reach a certain equilibrium with physical pain.
Whenever I think about my dad (which is multiple times throughout the day), I keep it to myself. It’s awkward telling a random story to a friend (more so for them than it is for you) about someone who is deceased.
Or is it?
A friend of mine on Facebook recently lost her grandfather. She had recently deactivated her account but came back after hearing the news of her grandpa’s passing.
Her message was simple: Cherish those who matter to you NOW, rather than later.
I liked her post to show I supported her and was terribly sorry for her loss.
Then she began to do something I had never seen on Facebook.
She wrote a story about her grandfather.
And another and another and another and another.
There have been 15 posts thus far in the past 9 days.
Some of these stories were absolutely hilarious. Some made you think. Some moved you to tears. But all of them gave you a glimpse into the man her grandfather was. After having read those stories, I feel like I sort of know him, too.
Her stories were/are intriguing. I began to look forward to them. Although they are about a man I’ve never met, after reading these stories, I feel a kind of closeness to her, the closeness you feel to another human being who has suffered a great loss.
My friend did this (or should I say is doing this) as a way of sharing with the world who her grandfather was and how much he means to her. She continues to post about him whenever she feels the need as a kind of heart-wrenching yet beautiful relief of her grief and hurting.
I would like to do the same. I have all these great memories of my father. Why shouldn’t I share them as frequently as I can?
I encourage you to do the same if you have lost a loved one.
Funerals give us one opportunity to memorialize our loved ones. Who says we can’t (or shouldn’t) make it an ongoing experience? Continually share stories of our experiences with them… An eternal tribute, if you will.
Let’s continue to keep our loved ones in our memories… But also strive to share about them whenever we feel like it.
They deserve it.