Tuesday, December 26, 2017

I didn't know what to write until something came to me (in more ways than one).

As I have noted in earlier posts, I lost my wife to cancer 21 years ago, and I never have stopped thinking of her and what she could have accomplished had she lived. Her loss has influenced my life in many ways. And most recently, this has been evidenced in a letter I just received from my cousin - a man who whose wife was diagnosed with cancer one year ago, and who passed away less than a month afterwards.

I hate meaningless condolences from people who have never experienced grief. No, I would never call these people out for trying to show their support for me in time of need. It's just that each person's loss is unique and can not be compared to the loss of another person. So, I was both glad and sad when I received this letter from my cousin in today's mail:

I have left my acknowledgement of your condolences on J's passing to the last. Last, not because is was not important to me, but last because it was the hardest to acknowledge. Last because your letter contained the words that had been forged in the furnace of sorrow.  No cliche's, but words that only someone who has experienced such a loss can understand.

I have been told by one of J's coworkers, who lost his wife suddenly 2 years ago, that I am now a member of a unique club, a club to which you are elected without your permission and from which you can not resign. He said that I will understand things that I could never before grasp and view things with multiple perspectives.

Your letter contains more thought, feeling, and sincerity than all the condolence, prayer and mass cards that I received and will be kept long after the others have been discarded.

J was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer on 12-24-16 and passed on 1-11-17.

Merry Christmas
Happy New Year
Good Health                           R-

My cousin and I haven't seen each other since his mother passed away about 19 years ago, and yet, I feel that there is something that will bond us together. He is right, widowhood is a club to which you join without your consent and from which you can not resign. Although his experience was, is, and will be very different than mine, his grief is still new. He probably still cries when a special song comes on the radio. But that's OK. Each person's grief is unique, and there is no formula for one to use when healing from this kind of wound.

I wish my cousin the best in the world, and hope that we can get together in the new year.

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