Monday, April 13, 2009

When Death Steals Away, There Are No Pretty Words

A dear friend of mine buried her husband last week—the father of her children, the household provider, the man she dreamed with and planned with and told her secrets to. The man whose 1,000-watt smile made hers shine as bright as the African sun at high noon.

The love of her life.

Her heart is absolutely shattered—as are those of all her friends. Because we know what he meant to her. The pain of his loss is visceral. Searing. Late at night, when she and her man and their children are on my mind, I can hear her crying out. And my heart breaks all over again. For her. For him. For them.

I have no pretty words to make it all better—can’t find the nouns and verbs and adjectives to console. Because what has happened is an ugly thing. Something that’s hard to look in the face and take head on. Something that requires much more than the obligatory, “He’s in a better place now,” or “You have your beautiful memories to hold on to,” or the command to “be strong.”

He should be here.

And though memories are great, having her man here, in the presence of the living—to love and to hold and to cherish and to be with—is just better.

And being told to be strong in such a time of incredible vulnerability just seems so… so… trite.

My dear friend has the right to her anger. And her incredible sadness. And her deep wanting.

For things to be as they were.

With her family intact.

Ha’ mercy, I have no pretty words.

Just open arms and a shoulder for the leaning.

I love you, Jamilah.

Thomas: Soar with the angels.

RELATED POST: I'll Always Love My Mama

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  1. my heart goes out to this woman. My mom lost the love of her life when she was 41.

    Unfortunately, she followed him at 48.

    may God wrap his arms around her and her family.

  2. I don't know how people make it through, but I'm praying that she can find her way too. As much as I love the power of words, sometimes...there is nothing words can do. They feel so empty, so useless at times like these. Great post. I'm sure it gives her comfort to know that she has so many people who are praying hard for her...

  3. I'm so sorry for your friend.

    That was a beautifully-written tribute!

  4. I think the hardest thing about a horrible loss like this is that we feel so inadequate as friends. We want so much to do something to relieve the burden or ease the pain. My heart goes out to your friend and her family. May God bless and comfort them. And I'm sure this beautifully written tribute will mean the world to her.

  5. This is truly awful. It seems like the shadow of death is being cast so frequently this week. I know it always happens but loss is so tragic when it is a husband/wife/parent/child. So young.

  6. I'm so sorry for your friend. It's heartbreaking. You gave a wonderful tribute. Thanks for visiting my blog today.

  7. My condolences go out to your friend D.

  8. My mama transitioned two years ago, April 10, 2007. Since it happened two days after Resurrection Sunday, this time of year will forever remind me of her.

    Easter Sunday 2007 was the last time I spoke with her; we were comparing observations about our favorite NCAA Women's teams, hers UNC-Chapel Hill, mine UMD Terps. Her favorite college b-ball player was UNC's Michael Jordan, mine was Maryland's Len Bias We both love basketball, especially women's basketball. I teased her every time Maryland kicked Carolina's and Duke's behinds, which happens quite often in women's play.

    Mama passed that Tuesday. My parents had been married fifty-five years at the time my mother left us; this month, Pops decided to remarry, without telling any of his seven offspring until after the deed was done, for he knew that we felt that he lowered his standards when he said, "I do" this time. I am deeply disappointed with his choice of a second wife: a neighbor, a classmate of my younger brother, a woman with motives beyond love. With no choice, but to accept his decision to move in that direction, I must find it within myself to reconcile my hurt and sense of betrayal, to pray for my father's happiness and health, to continue to love and respect him because he is my father.

    In between his second marriage and the second anniversary of my mother's death, I became a grandma for the first time. My Nigerian daughter and husband gave birth to Ava Adora Kariba, the most precious little girl I have seen in many years--smile. I felt my mother smiling down on both of us, as I held her first time. As Emily experiences the beginning phase of motherhood, I understand again what it's like to develop loving bonds with parents and with children.

  9. @Angela: Thank you so much for sharing your story. I know that it hurts, but I'm praying that you find peace with your dad's decision, and that you find insurmountable joy with your little Ava.

  10. My heart goes out to your friend and to you. It's so hard to know what to say or do. Just be there for her. Help her in anyway you can. A part of her soul has gone with him. She'll need her friends to be there for her. May God Bless her and comfort her in this time.

  11. My thought and prayers are with your friend and her family. I'm so sorry for her loss.

  12. When you lose someone you love...That feeling of loving them and them loving you never goes away...the feeling of them being gone/lost will hide from time to time and resurface from time to time...but it never goes away. Time will make it easier to deal with the loss of that person.

    My mom said the other day..."I don't think I'll ever love anyone like I love your father; I left my heart at the cemetery".

    Pray for the present, future and cherish the memories.

    There I no cure for a broken heart.

    ~Sorry that your moments have been cut short with your love in this lifetime.~

    My prayers & thoughts are with you & your family.

    Nicole (OM)

  13. My heart broke reading this post. I can't even begin to imagine her pain. Sending lots of love, thoughts and prayers to her and her family.


  14. I don't know how to adequately express my condolences when someone passes. I too think of the people that have been left behind to go through such horrible grief.

    My heart pounds at the thought of losing someone that is close to me so I can only imagine the ripping out your heart type of grief your friend is feeling at this moment.

    My thoughts and prayers are with her and you being the wonderful friend that you are to her.

  15. oh i just don't know what to say bc my words are just not good enough. i do know that since i can only focus on HOPE and all that it brings, i find a peace. i know you have faith, and that faith certainly helps, but the pain still sears. your love, prayers and support are the perfect gift for you friend and her fam...praying for you to have the perfect peace and words to be with your friend in this very hard and searing time.

    hebrews 11:1

  16. Such pain you friend is feeling at the moment. Often times I wonder what will I do if something happens to my hubby or our children. It is times like these that I know I must pull stronger to my faith, and not let these thoughts consume me.

    Hugs and Mocha,

  17. This is so sad, powerful and real. I just lost my grandmother last week and the pain is deep. Her death was expected because of her age, but I can only imagine the pain of loosing your life partner. My thoughts and prayers are with her.

  18. There are no pretty words, and you said it beautifully!

  19. So very sorry to hear/read this... nothing but love, hugs and support goes out from me to your friend and everyone else that this loss has touched.

  20. Pole Sana Jamila. Pole Sana Denene.

  21. It is so true--he should be there! Every other comfort can seem so trite or cliche in a time like that! I talk about that in my book, Walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, about our family's similar story. Thanks for such a great post!

  22. I will definitely keep Jamilah and her family in my prayers and thoughts. It's unthinkable, and unfair, and absurd to lose anyone you love, and your partner...well, that's just doesn't seem doable, to be honest. Great tribute, Denene. In God, Jamilah!


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