Our beautiful, funny, loving, tender-hearted nephew, Chancellor, is dead. I will not use euphemisms. He is dead. When I met him he was a teeny little goofball and he grew into a man that became our friend. Our children adore and idolize him. I never wanted to feel this pain again. I never wanted my husband and children to know this. I never wanted to see two more babies mourn their dead parent and live their lives so broken. If you’ve never known a pain like this then I rejoice for you. I don’t expect you to know how to behave around those so deeply bereaved and I know you want to help so I’ll tell you-don’t try to fix it. Nothing will ever fix this. God didn’t gain another angel because we do not die and become angels. God didn’t need him more-no one needed him more than his wife and baby boys. Those words aren’t soothing, though I know you think they are. No words are needed but hugs are. Don’t be afraid to cry and do not hide your tears especially not in front of his babies-they need to know it is ok to cry and they are looking to grown ups to learn how to behave. Talk about him. Tell funny, happy, silly, and touching stories. Do not bring up anything negative. No one is perfect and we all know that but remember only the good. If you can’t do that stay away or at least keep it to yourself. Listen to our stories-our memories are all we have. Maybe you’ve heard them before, maybe you just heard that story twenty minutes ago, maybe you were even there when it happened but listen with every fibre of your being and be grateful because the person telling that story to you is giving you a precious little piece of him.
We all know everyone wants to know all of the details of how he died but no one who knows wants to have to relive it over and over so don’t ask because, really, does it matter? He is dead. It doesn’t matter how.
This week is busy. There is a steady stream of people coming together to grieve, there is business to take care of, and there are plans to be made and then suddenly everyone will be gone. It will suddenly all become dark and lonely and all too real. Don’t forget the grieving because grief like this is never ending. Don’t tell them it will get better because it won’t, they’ll just learn to cope. Don’t tell his wife to move on or that she will find someone else…if you don’t understand why you shouldn’t do that there is no way I can explain it to you so just trust me and I’m so sorry you have never known love like that-I hope you do someday.
If you forget everything I just said please be still and quiet. Hold the bereaved close and tight and remember this:
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts,