Reflections on Death: A Personal Letter to a Friend

Dear ****,

I know that you are going through some really difficult things right now.  The pain of losing a loved one hurts in a way that it can be hard even to express.

I can relate a bit to the pain of losing someone we care about.  In the span of two years, all of my grandparents died, my uncle died, my friend killed himself, my best friend’s boyfriend killed himself, and my favourite teacher died suddenly of cancer.  Death can be brutal, without a doubt.  We feel like this person who played such an important part in our life has been lost, suddenly taken from us and from the world.   We feel that part of our lives has died with them.  And that hurts, deeply.

It is perfectly natural to grieve.  Let yourself feel what you need to feel.  In my own experience, though, I learned that drinking only made my mind more muddy and amplified my feelings until I felt way worse and way more helpless and hopeless.  I felt like I needed it at the time, but I later realized that I didn’t need it at all; it was keeping me down.

I have also thought quite a bit about death.  I found the deaths of my loved ones easier to get over when I remembered that they live on in my memories of them and in the consequences of their lives on the world.  Every time I think of my grandfather’s laugh or say something he would say, I keep him alive in the world.  Death cannot fully killed him.

Moreover, our loved ones are not annihilated at death.  I’m not speaking religiously here, but scientifically.  Since, as physics tells us, matter cannot be destroyed, our loved ones do not disappear at death.  Rather, they return to the earth.  The chemical components of their bodies become one with the natural world; they become the soil and the insects and the animals and the plants and the waters in their body evaporate and become the clouds.

Our loved ones are always near us, though dead.  To be with them, we need only go out into nature.  Whoever you lost, you can feel their presence in nature.  They are still with you.

Right now, you are probably feeling really horrible.  These words might not be very helpful to you at this point, but they helped me, so I’m sharing them just in case.  You have people who care about you; they can help you through this tough time too.

Take care, ****, and if you want to talk about anything, feel free to message me and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can,

Adam

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