The Difference Between Mourning & Despair

Jacquelyn - Westminister, Colorado
Entered on May 7, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: death, family

Why does it always seem to be raining at funerals? It creates a cruel irony when the weather can mimic the gloom all the people are feeling.

Unfortunately, I learned this through a rough part of my life: when my great grandmother died. I remember my grandmother before she got sick. She was beautiful and so happy. I remember all the stories she would tell me about her life. She’d tell me about growing up in the mountains and about how much she loved her father. Then I remember every excruciating detail of the week she died. I feel the anxiety and fear of the hospital and the hospice center. I can hear the beeping of the machines that were invading the almost lifeless person who was once so vibrant. My heart still aches when I think of my family’s faces and hear the crying. My eyes still start to tear when I remember her hopeful singing; she was a source of faith and inspiration until the end. I remember the last kiss my great granddad gave her, tears in his eyes and tears streaming down my face. Hers was the third death in or close to my family over a three-month period, and it was to be followed closely by two more. And as horrible as the experience was for my family and I, I feel happiness from remembering all the people that were there to comfort us. It seemed like giving and receiving moral support was the only way to get through a tragedy.

And it’s through this experience that I’ve come to believe that the only salve for the scars death leaves is a warm shoulder to cry on. It’s the only way to mourn without slipping into a hopeless and desperate place. I believe this because I’ve had to see the contrasted effects of the two situations. We all know people who have fallen deep into a depression after a loved one passes or after they go through a hard time. They isolate themselves in an effort to stop the pain. They don’t have the love to get through. On the other hand, there are people who mourn but are able to recover from their loss. These are the ones who surround themselves with people to draw comfort from their warm embraces. They have come to the understanding that we can’t go through everything alone.

About a year after I lost so many loved ones, my experiences that year still stick with me. When I go to funerals or hear about deaths in my friends’ families, I can now appreciate the value of kind words when people are going through a hard time. And even when the funeral is for someone I hardly know, I always go to offer the support to the very people who helped me through my hardships. Then, when it’s my turn to hurt again, I find the inevitable funeral rain much less effecting.