Saying Good-bye to Ronald

November 9, 2009 at 1:33 am Leave a comment

Just this week I took time to pay respects to a man who died—  a person who had lived a full life, but died after a short illness. I did not know Ronald; I knew only his wife Andrea.

The minister had many kind words to say about Ron,  how full his life had been, how great was his love for his wife and children, how much he put himself out to help others. He had truly lived, but now he had passed on at the relatively young age of 52.

Going on will be difficult for his widow and their children. What does one do? I suppose, never having gone through the death of a spouse, that there will be forms to fill in, business to take care of after the funeral.  There will be a closet of clothing, shoes and socks recently worn, photos on the wall, in albums, maybe tools and a car, all things to remind the family of his life— and an emptiness.

Our society moves on too quickly after a death, somehow expecting that after the funeral that business will be as usual, that the mourners will pick themselves up  in a short time and move on.  Grief takes much longer than that and it’s important to acknowledge that and accept the grieving as a process, one that can take a lot of time.  It’s important to do the hard work of grieving. I know that from losing close friends and extended family members. It takes time to come to terms with loss.

Emily Dickinson might have understood. Her poem “A Bustle in the House” addresses the emotional emptiness of loss, the day that follows the death, when everyone else leaves the house, when the one most affected is left alone with the grief.  A short but powerful poem from The Poetry Foundation.

The Bustle in a House (1108)

by Emily Dickinson

The Bustle in a House
The Morning after Death
Is solemnest of industries
Enacted opon Earth –


The Sweeping up the Heart
And putting Love away
We shall not want to use again
Until Eternity –
Andrea, if you’re reading this, know that I do not understand how you feel, but that  I acknowledge that life is not as it was before for you and your family. You are on my heart and my mind. I’m praying for you.

Entry filed under: family, relationships. Tags: .

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