Loss is loss. It never gets easier...

Listen, Lucy –

Loss is loss. It never gets easier. It never goes away…

She was doing what she loved. She was enjoying a beautiful Sunday morning in Chicago. She had just returned from a trip to China. She was planning her retirement and her move back to her beloved Pittsburgh. That return to Pittsburgh did happen, but not the way that she had planned. It was on that Sunday morning that our lives were changed forever. It was later in the evening that we learned what had happened and it was the first time in my life that I truly knew what loss was. I knew what grief was and what hate was. I had never been so angry in my life. I was sixteen years old and I had just lost one of the women that I admired most. She was struck and killed by two men who were coming home from a bar. They had probably been drinking all night. They lost complete control of their van, drove up onto a curb, and killed my aunt. We have had some tragic deaths in our family, but we never thought we’d lose her this way. I remember my dad and his siblings travelling to Chicago in the days after and I remember hoping and praying that they had the wrong woman…

This happened in July 2002. It seems as if it happened yesterday. The pain and the anguish are still present. Every holiday, every wedding, every family vacation, there is a void. She is not there. The sun rises and sets everyday, whether or not we believe it is going to do so. I knew that my life would never be the same and it is not. But looking back, I have grown stronger and I now see some good that came from the bad. Right before her trip to China, I had reconstructive knee surgery. My dad was out of town and my mom had four children to take care of. My aunt came to the rescue. She drove from Chicago, probably listening to books on tape the entire way (I never knew how she could do it and not fall asleep). We spent an entire week together, I learned things I never knew, and I grew to admire her on a level I never had before. She quizzed me on SAT questions and she told me time and time again that I could do whatever I put my mind to. I realized what a classy, intelligent, humorous, and genuinely compassionate person she was. She had a heart of gold, yet she always told you exactly what she thought (whether you were going to like it or not). God gave me that week with her; a week that I cherish more than anything.

Recently, with the loss of another friend to a tragic accident, I believe I have finally found some solace and some peace. I believe that everything happens for a reason.  I trust in God and I trust that these loved ones have been taken from this life for a reason. I know that they are in a better place. I know that they are happy. Life goes on. They would not want me to be sad. They would want me to remember the good times (and there were SO many good times). At my dear friend’s funeral, I was reminded of his humor and I was consoled by something that he had written in our eighth grade yearbook. His favorite song ‘Tears in Heaven’ by Eric Clapton reminded me that, “beyond the door, there’s peace I’m sure, and I know there’ll be, no more tears in heaven”.