Tag Archives: loss

The Certainty of Uncertainty

As much as we might like to think we know what the future holds, we really do not. Anything can happen to keep us on our chosen path or derail us. We need to be prepared for uncertainty as much as we can be. Of course, we cannot cover every possibility. A town less than an hour from where I live was struck with torrential rains and gale force winds. When the storm was over, homes were flooded and damaged. This came as a great surprise. The news showed the residents coming together to help out with assistance coming from other areas as well. We just don’t know what might happen tomorrow.

Each time I drive by a serious accident on my way to work, I hope that there were no fatalities. There are times I am surprised that the driver lived. Even though I don’t know the driver of a fatal accident, I cannot help but think of the profound affect that this accident had on the family. The sudden death of a family member leaves the family confused, angry and anxious for the future. It is never hard to face the loss of a family member.

Other losses, such as a loss of a job or career, can cause just as much anxiety. Even when we get news about a severe or terminal medical condition is a loss. Again, we never know what might happen. But one thing we can do is live in the moment. Knowing that we are in someone’s heart, their thoughts, and prayers can be comforting. It is important that we look inside ourselves for strength. It is also important that we look to others for support. I certainly hope that you have those persons or organizations to give you support when you might need it. If you are a religious person, seek out God. Your faith can be your comfort, even if you have to be angry and shout at God at first because you just can’t understand why. It’s okay, God has very large shoulders.

Whatever might come your way, I wish for you speedy healing. If it is a door that closes, remember that every exit door is an entrance to somewhere else. We cannot know what will happen tomorrow. We need to plan for the unknown, but live in the present. It is paying attention to the now that builds the bridges to tomorrow. We might not know what is around the bend in the path, but what we do can determine the road.

Peace be with you.

Beyond Understanding

Last weekend, I attended a memorial service for a 7-year-old girl who lost her battle against cancer.  I will say right away that I do not understand why children have cancer or other dreadful maladies that take these precious souls away from us. I cannot imagine the loss to her family. Such an event cannot possibly leave a family unchanged.

As much as we do not like it, we can accept the cycle of life when someone dies at an advanced age, but to die so young seems so unreasonable. We know that people of every age die at the hands of accidents, negligence and the “free will” choices of others, but many medical maladies seem so far out of our control. Maybe someday we will find the answer that unlocks the secret to cancer and stop its runaway growth. I certainly hope so.

The pastor said that there is no explanation or reason that might comfort the family. I dug around my own thoughts looking for a reason. I thought about the fall of man at the beginning but even that didn’t satisfy my hunger for something understandable.

More than 30 years ago, Gary Mervis founded Camp Good Days and Special Times for his daughter, Teddi Mervis and 62 other children with cancer from Upstate New York. I am not directly familiar with this organization but I can easily imagine that this group not only brings fun and confidence to the kids but celebrates their undefeatable spirit. The founder not only poured out his love for his daughter and others like her, but allowed so many more to demonstrate their love as well.

In the newspaper after the memorial service was held, there was a comment about the little girl from her mother, I believe, that cancer was just a word. I can believe that, since children do not tend to dwell on their problems but look for the next moment of magic.

Death, of course, is a part of life. For some, it is the end. For others, it is a new beginning to something greater – a mere transition from here to the hereafter. I am not sure that death is much of a barrier for God. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead after four days. (John 11) Jesus commanded his apostles to raise the dead. (Matt 8:10) Peter raised Tabitha from the dead. (Acts 9:36-43) Paul raised Eutychus from the dead (Acts 20:7-12). Jesus himself was resurrected and a resurrection was promised to all those who believe. For many of us, this is a comforting thought but those of us left behind miss our loved one’s presence. Their memories in our minds and hearts keep them alive for us here, even as they live on in paradise.

I cannot imagine the intense feeling of losing a child. I can only sympathize with those who have lost children for any reason. Early childhood passing was common one hundred fifty years ago, but in our modern world of medicine and sanitation, it defies my sensibilities. My thoughts and prayers not only go out to the family effected last weekend but to all those families suffering with cancer or other medical maladies.  I suppose that children living with and dying of cancer is simply beyond my understanding.

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Missing My Butterfly

Laura enjoying the splendor of Corning Glass Works

It has been a year since Laura A. Verdow Santelli had passed away (February 20, 2010). On this anniversary of her death, I began thinking of the attributes that I missed most about her.

What I miss most is her smile, so wide, when she saw me. I miss how easily she laughed, even at the corniest jokes. I miss her playfulness and her free spirit and sincere affection.

I also miss how she cried into my shoulder when she expressed her frustration and fears about her finances and health. I miss that because she trusted me enough to make herself vulnerable in that way. It made me feel needed, respected, and loved.

Laura had a very loving heart. She adored her children. Her needs were simple and she thought more about what other people needed and less about herself. She was not perfect, of course, but her positive attributes far outweighed any negative traits she might have had.

Of course, Laura is in a better place now. She is in the presence of God. I know that she is looking over her children. I know that she is at peace and pain free. I look forward to seeing her when I pass on.

I miss you, my butterfly. The time we had together was a precious gift. Take care and know that I will always love you.

Other postings related to Laura A. VerDow Santelli:

My Butterfly Became an Angel
A Glimpse of a Butterfly

Lessons from Death – Part One

Even from the time I was young, I have been familiar with death. My father was a tenant farmer and a factory worker. His factory work left many of the farm chores to my siblings and me. I had an opportunity to see the cycle of life repeatedly. I understood that death was natural. We raised animals for market and for food. The striving for survival is an incredible urge. When a sow gives birth, we marketed the piglets after a short while, which caused the sow to stress and urge her to gestate.

Unlike what I learned to feel about farm animals, the loss of a loved one is an incredibly emotional event. We read about people dying everyday and if we have no close attachment, it affects us differently. My mother passed away in 1994. She suffered a very sudden death, like the kind that everyone wishes to experience.

I had a difficult time accepting that she was gone. It didn’t become real to me until the funeral. I finally allowed my emotions to surface and I sobbed at the loss. I was taught that boys don’t cry, that displaying emotion is a sign of weakness. I cannot agree. Being afraid to show emotion comes from a place of fear and shame. Acknowledging your feelings is reflective and comes from a place of strength and acceptance. If you don’t acknowledge such strong emotions then they will manifest in other ways, usually in negative ways or in ways that make it difficult to move forward.

Accepting my mother’s death allowed me to see life as more precious and finite. The idea of mortality is one we don’t want to entertain, especially our own. Youth is reckless as they envision themselves immortal creatures. They really don’t understand that they can die. Dying is something that others do.

Take care, stay well and be safe

Follow this link to Lessons from Death – Part Two

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