Different flavours of grief

It’s been an interesting year (in that Chinese curse kind of a way!!). It has been punctuated by a series of deaths. There have been several deaths, but three have had a notable personal impact. As I consider these three losses, I realise that each one has a slightly different quality.

I mourn the loss of all three men. All three enriched my life directly in different ways.

Greg was a good friend. We shared many meals and many glasses of wine. We traded laughter and a particular way of relating. I miss his company. He was far too young to die, although, in the last weeks, his death was not unanticipated. In mourning his loss, I found myself projecting my rage onto others, and my deep need for comfort turned me inward.

Duncan was a colleague. I did not know him all that well, but, in some ways, I was the beneficiary of his professional legacy. He was cut short in early retirement by a stroke. The shock of his passing is the flavour I most recall. He had so much more life in him, so much more to give.

David was a soul acquaintance (yes, that is a phrase I just made up). By this I mean I didn’t know him well enough to call him a friend but we connected on a soul level. We met regularly for over a year, in the context of small faith sharing group. He was a wise, generous, reflective man, who was always willing to learn more. By the time I got to know him, he had already been diagnosed with the cancer to which he finally succumbed. His death was not sudden, nor, particularly untimely. But I regret that I did not get to know him better.

Three experiences of death, yet each qualitatively different for me. I find myself wanting to write of loss, sadness, grief in all three cases. And yet, whilst those are the only words I have and I think they are the right words to use, they conjure something just a little different in me when I picture each of their faces.

We humans are such complex beasts – it is a wonder we are able to communicate at all!

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