I didn’t know how much joy there could be in grief until sorrow encompassed me and a warm flow of unconditional love spread throughout my entire being. Someone I knew experienced a death in her family and it hit me like a proverbial ton of bricks when I learned of her demise . . .
Her sister – who may have been in her mid 40s – had been suffering from what was an incurable malady. She was in and out of the hospital and only recently placed in a hospice, according to my friend, Allison.
Allison had notified me and other seekers that her sister had passed on at 11 o’clock yesterday morning. When I learned of the death, I was struck with such sorrow I could not believe it. I compared it to the loss I felt not for a family member — my mother, my father or my older brother — but for a soldier friend who was shot and killed in Vietnam.
I was unable to grief for him because of the war. We had to get back to combat patrols, and I did not have the time to mourn in a proper fashion some 40 years ago.
I finally set things right several years ago at a retreat for veterans with PTSD. I was at a place called Omega Institute in update New York. I cried like a baby and felt so much relief in doing so. His name was First Lieutenant Victor Lee Ellinger, one of only three junior officers in my infantry unit.
I never met Allison’s sister. But I cried for Allison and her family and friends who did know Allison’s sibling.
Grief can have a joyful quality about it. It is like Shakespeare said in one of his many plays. “Parting is such sweet sorrow.” (I underlined the important part!) I believe the story may have been Romeo and Juliet.
It could have been about Michael J and Allison’s sister for the feeling I got from such a parting . . .