by Rachel Blado
Before your loved one dies, you think that stuff like that only happens to other people.
But, when it happens, when your spouse, child, or dearest friend dies, your eyes are opened to the pain around you, and you suddenly become susceptible to the pain within you.
The anxiety crouches in and feels so very much like fear, fear of not knowing how this happened.
Could it happen again?
Could I lose another?
Fear of being vulnerable and ripped open to the core.
Death changes you.
Death is Real
When my son died, I was torn to pieces. Yet, when I looked around, I couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing: people eating and gathering as if nothing had changed.
My child died during a national epidemic, but post after post (of people I thought cared) were filled with jokes, political opinions, and sarcasm about what was going on.
Each post, each joke sent me to “that” spot, unraveling in a quick descent of anxious thoughts.
I was immediately right there, my dead son in my arms, weak and floppy, as I screamed in shocking despair.
Yet, the very same people who gave their condolences, thought this whole thing was a joke. They complained about mere inconveniences.
“My son is dead!” I screamed within myself.
Forgiveness is Always an Option
Those hurtful posts seem to be forever etched into my memory. No matter how much I wish they weren’t, they’re etched into my traumatic reactors.
Each time I see that person in my community or see their name on a post, my body goes there.
Sometimes, my body tenses. Other times, I feel a sharp pang in my heart, followed by thoughts of my son during his most vulnerable moment.
A small part of me feels helpless as if I were holding my dead son in my arms again.
In an instant, I remember who these people were when they didn’t think I was looking.
Then, I forgive them. It’s work, but it’s important work.
Exposed Pain is Tender and Vulnerable
This is what it feels like when you lose a loved one during an epidemic:
Everyone’s insensitive statements multiply your pain, and each major plague that comes in succession leaves you with questions: WHY?
Why didn’t this or that happen with the last crisis?
Why did my loved one have to die?
Why are people so selfish and hurtful?
Why are people joking around like death is a game?
Then, you remind yourself that they don’t know the pain. They don’t get up in the morning realizing that the unthinkable could happen to their family while still wondering if it’s all real.
This is what if feels like to lose a loved one during an epidemic.
But, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Will You Help Bandage the Bruised and Broken?
No, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Instead, we could be selfless and give of ourselves.
We could do our best to value every life rich or poor, young or old.
We could see past circumstances and see a hurting heart.
We could choose to build-up, instead of tear down. Be what the hurting need instead of adding one more thing the grieving must endure.
Haven’t we endured enough?
We could rise and be the light. In the future, may this be what it’s like to lose a loved one during an epidemic.
May it feel like LOVE.