By Sister Geraldine Garbarino
When you experience a loss, especially at the death of someone close to you, you feel numbness. You cannot believe the person is really gone. I have experienced the loss of my father, mother, three brothers and three sisters. For some of the losses I was there preceding death, making it a little easier to say goodbye, and the grief process easier as a healthy acceptance later occurred of the new reality.
We are children of today and tomorrow but also children of yesterday. One should not destroy a beautiful part of life because remembering it hurts. The leaving is to strike the delicate balance between the yesterday that is remembered and the new tomorrow that must be created.
The hardest death was my sister Adrian. It happened over a weekend suddenly, so I did not get a chance to say goodbye. It took me three years to work out the emotions of my grief. Many discussions and much listening took place with the therapist, plus writing a letter to Adrian, and going to the cemetery in San Francisco to say goodbye at the grave. The trip to the cemetery at the time of her death was not a closure. Prayer and writing in my journal helped the healing, but I still miss the close relationship we had as sisters.
Our ultimate goal is to remember the loved one without pain, and to integrate the love into our lives, so the love does not die.
These thoughts were written in my journal of the time of my sister Adrian’s death November 18, 1997.
DARKNESS IS POWERLESS
And so it is with death,
BEFORE THE ONSLAUGHT OF LIGHT
We have allowed ourselves to think of it as a dark door,
When actually it is a rainbow bridge,
Spanning the grief between two worlds.
–Norman Vincent Peale