Sudden Death: An Earthquake Moment

Oct 21st, 2008 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Sudden, unexpected, tragic! Family and friends of a well known couple were in shock when learning of their deaths in an automobile and motorcycle accident last Saturday. It stops anyone short, whether you knew those involved or not. The temporal nature of our brief lives faces us straight on. The departure of people you take for granted, that they will just be there, suddenly is met with stark reality.

Death is that ultimate mystery that finds us ready or not. Something inside us is stilled for a moment or more when we reflect on the vacancy now in our lives. Some find a quiet place to mourn privately. Others just express openly. Others are just dazed. Some become stoic. It is a universal experience and it leaves its own intimate mark or scar upon us.

We will recover. We know that. But, like everything else experienced in this mortal journey, we are left with enormous change.

How we cope will say a lot about our own ability to manage disappointment and grief. There is no right or wrong way to go about ones grieving. There are some very fine books which prescribe methods and explain the steps of grieving. One of them, written by a colleague of my acquaintance for more than 20 years, is “Life After Loss.” The author is Bob Deits.

Talking with friends or other family members most always offers therapy. Remembering is critical. Good memories are a balm and a salve. Share them generously.

Finding ways to create appropriate memorials in behalf of the deceased, not artificial or temporary, but something permanent that will sustain others in their journeys, can always be done. A small park, a memorial fountain, a scholarship for a person in need, a special gift to a special organization and other ideas can serve as a way to plant a solid reminder of persons whose lives had and will continue to have meaning. Those who knew the deceased can find gratifying fulfillment in participating in such a tribute.

Now is the time to grieve, now is the time to begin sorting it out. My counsel is to avoid “why” questions. Those almost always lead no where or in directions that are only artificially satisfying.

Spiritual solace is often the most helpful. It allows persons to draw on the strength and promise of the positives of mortality and immortality. Judgement is not our role. Compassion and a genuine presence are offerings well made. Expressions of such come in all forms.

So spend some time in solemnity for as long as is needed. Reach out to others who care and aren’t afraid to demonstrate that caring. Avoid those who just don’t get it. They will often impose hurt, without even knowing it. Find your own solace and strength and hope as you work through this earthquake moment. Breathe deeply. Pray persistently. Hope constantly. Offer love unabashedly. Allow your spirit to soar to places it has not gone before or in a while.

We will prevail and life will be better because of the gift of the lives of our friends or family to all of us.



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