Choosing to Celebrate Life on the Anniversary of Death
There are days we celebrate, that we remember to remember, to cherish and to be grateful for. Today, I will remember, cherish and be grateful, even though it’s for a remembrance I wish I never had.
Today marks the fourth anniversary of my younger brother’s death — a tragic and inexplicable suicide of a young, vibrant, intelligent, charismatic and talented 35 year old. He was a gift in every sense of the word.
I am grateful beyond words for the lessons learned and for a family who has been brought closer by our grief and pain. As we consider how to spend the day together, I wanted to share a few quotes that have helped me through all the days that follow such a haunting loss.
These quotes give voice to the to the thoughts and emotions that exist for those who have loved and lived this pain, especially on the days we are called to find joy amidst our sorrow and pain.
I hope they help you as much as they have helped me see beauty in grief:
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” — Jesus Christ, in Matthew 5:4
“Grieving is a journey that teaches us how to love in a new way now that our loved one is no longer with us. Consciously remembering those who have died is the key that opens the hearts, that allows us to love them in new ways.” — Tom Attig, The Heart of Grief
“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” –Vicki Harrison
“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly — that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” –Anne Lamott
“When someone you love dies, and you’re not expecting it, you don’t lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time — the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone. Just when the day comes — when there’s a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she’s gone, forever — there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.” –John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany
Grief never ends… But it changes.
It’s a passage, not a place to stay.
Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith…
It is the price of love.
Christopher, you are so missed and so loved. We will celebrate your life, your love and our world without fail; the same time every year.
We won’t forget.