My father and I couldn’t be more different when it comes to our personalities and I know, over the years, he’s been convinced I haven’t heard a single word he’s said, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. There have been times small nuggets of wisdom actually stuck and I’ve held onto them my entire life.
As I sat to write this column for you, I have to admit my heart was extremely heavy and it was one of those life lessons my father shared with me that I hope will bring comfort to a close friend who is losing her mother. I know there are no words to ease the pain of that loss but hopefully something here will bring even the tiniest bit of solace, not only to her, but to anyone who may be feeling the loss of a loved one.
Life, no matter how you look at it, is a funny thing. All those comforts, pleasures, joys, and smiles are only one side of the coin, and there’s a reason for that in the Grand Design that is life. How is it possible to know pleasure without pain? Joy without loss? Love without distaste? Good without evil?
Throughout the universe there can be no positive without a negative and for us, simple people with emotions and feelings, it can be a cold place, but the truth of the matter is just the opposite and there should be comfort for each of us in grief.
It’s all about perspective.
One of the greatest gifts we as a species have been blessed with is the ability to feel, to suffer emotional pain. How could suffering, especially from the loss of a loved one, be a blessing?
Pain, suffering, and the empty void created by death actually help us to remember those we loved. The void created is there to be filled with joyous memories and recollections of laughter, happiness, and a shared experience. These are things which even death can’t take away from us and in the end, the glow of a lifetime of friends, parents, children, and anyone who held a special place in your heart may cause an ache of absence, but eventually will become a place of comfort.
Though life certainly isn’t fair, it is gracious. Imagine a lifetime of no suffering, loss, or pain and you can also imagine a life devoid of pleasure. With no point of comparison, no negative effects to our existence, we would be incapable of appreciating the small things which are actually the bulk of our time with one another.
In this case, I heard my father comforting my mother when her dad had passed away following a long illness. I don’t know if either of my parents even remember it, or knew I was there, but I’ll never forget the words my father used, and they give me comfort even now:
“We start dying the moment we start living… it’s what you do with the time you have. And, as much as it hurts, the more you miss him, the more he meant. Just never forget.”
So, my friend, cry, grieve, and allow your heart to ache. You will eventually fill that void with days of your childhood, glowing in sunshine and smiles, kissed boo-boos, and hugs from those most important times of your life. Even when they’re gone, as long as you remember, they’re always going to be with you.
D. C. Moody is a staff writer for The Easley Progress, The Pickens Sentinel and Powdersville Post and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.