Marty Rose and I grew up in the same neighborhood. He was in my older brothers’ age range. When I was a kid he would walk by on his way home from high school with an armload of books. He was always funny and cool and a real smart alec. It was sad to find out the other day that he had unexpectedly crossed over the rainbow bridge. As with other reports of death, it made me reflect on the past, my recollections of Marty and the rest of the Juneau St. neighborhood families. We lived in a mostly Catholic neighborhood so there were kids in just about every house We had so many kids running around that it was easy to field teams for softball, kickball, football, or just about anything. Life was carefree.
I was profoundly sad that at my age more losses are occurring. Then, it hit me in the face that Marty wasn’t the first neighborhood kid to cross over the bridge. Some with one, two, six or 12 kids. One family has already buried at least three. My own brother Bobby died two and a half years ago. Hearing about Marty made me go right back to when Bobby left his body behind. I am sure others who knew and loved Marty were drawn back to previous losses too. It is only natural after all but it is sad just the same.
Then, this morning I was sorting through books and getting my office organized and I found a slip of well-worn paper given to me by my friend Ann Wilson after her husband Ted died. It is one of the best descriptions of grief I have ever seen. It helped Ann tremendously so I want to share it here.
“GRIEF IS A POWERFUL RIVER in flood. It cannot be argued or reasoned or wrestled down to an insignificant trickle. You must let it take you where it is going. When it pulls you under, all you can do is keep your eyes open for rocks and fallen trees, try not to panic, and stay face-up so you will know where the sky is. You will need that information later. Eventually, its waters calm and you will be on the shore far from where you began, raw and sore, but clean and as close to whole as you will ever be again.” This is on page 219 of ‘The Storm.’
Dear Cindy, Lynette, Barb, Beth, Nora, Sandi, Laurel and all of my other friends and loved ones who became widowed too young and for those mourning the death of a child, sibling, parent, friend, grandparent, auntie or uncle, I hope this helps you as much as it helped Ann.
Just flow with it and grief won’t break you, eventually, the water will recede and calm down and the whole ordeal will make you stronger. Reminds me of he lyrics of a hymn, “I got peace like a river…in my soul.” Hang in there and hopefully, before you know it, you will get to that place of calm and peace.
Shirley Enebrad is a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist with 25 years of experience. For her many years of work with pediatric cancer patients and those grieving the loss of a loved one, she received the Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service and the Angel of Hospice Award. She is the author of Six-Word Lessons on Coping with Grief and Six-Word Lessons for Surviving a Devastating Diagnosis.
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