The Grief Diary: Missing The Missing

Exploring the Aftermath of Love and Loss. This is the fourth in this series.

Missing someone is its own painful loss. A passing thought or memory of a loved one no longer here can trigger overwhelming feelings of longing and sadness. When there are a number of lost loved ones a myriad of memories can launch an afternoon of despair, turn a sunny day into a morass of depression, stop you short.

I try not to miss my missing loved ones.

Outside forces sometimes make this impossible.

Pop-up photos in my Facebook Feed

Some Facebook genius probably thinks they’re making my day by showing me random photos in my feed. If it exists in my account I must want to see it, right? Except sometimes these photos are of someone I’ve lost, someone I’m missing, someone I’m mourning, and seeing their beloved face on my screen when I don’t expect to can be a shock, sending my day spinning into emotional chaos.

Pop-up photos on my iPhone

Same thing with my iPhone. Pictures I’m not expecting show up and, depending on my mood, or the day, make me cry, or smile.

I suppose there is a way to control these pop-ups on Facebook and on my iPhone but I don’t have time to figure it out. If you know how please share the trick.

Random Acts of Memory

Occasionally a random glimpse of a piece of a person reminds me of someone I’ve lost:

A man’s freckled arm resting on the frame of his car’s window as we pass each other sparks memories of my father.

An elderly woman’s hooded brown eyes evoke memories of my mother.

The sight of fresh snowfall in the morning awakens thoughts of my brother Vic, who loved taking out his snowmobiles in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

Don’t Be Sad, Don’t Cry”

Many years ago, I sat at the kitchen table with my mom just talking over coffee, as we always did. It was not a serious conversation. We were laughing, reminiscing, planning and plotting what fun thing we’d do next. She suddenly grabbed my hand and said, “Look at me. Listen to what I have to say.” The mood grew serious. She had my undivided attention. “When I die,” she said, grasping my hand, “don’t be sad, don’t cry for me, because I’ll be with Jesus, and I’ve been waiting for that all of my life.”

Mom was a devout Catholic: 12 years of parochial school, daily mass for years. She often said she’d wished she’d been a nun. She was very close to the Lord. Death did not frighten her. She saw it as a necessary route to the afterlife.

At her funeral I shared this story with those who attended. It surprised no one. Everyone knew of her unshakeable faith. And from that day on when I find myself tearing up from missing her or distracted by a sweet memory, I go back to those words, and heed her instructions: “Don’t be sad. Don’t cry.”

Sometimes it works. Most times I’m filled with an emptiness, a sense of loss. Mom died at age 91. My dad died at 45. She lived twice as long as he did, and yet it wasn’t enough. At her funeral my youngest brother said, “Maybe I’m selfish but I want more. I want more time with my mom. I know we had more than most people get, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting even more.”

It’s only human nature to want more time with those we love.

And that’s why we miss them. We miss that lost time. And as time moves on and our loved ones recede into the backstory of our lives, we reflect on their lives and our love, and eventually find joy amid the sadness.

An Invitation

Please take this journey with me. We can communicate with one another in the comments, perhaps find healing together. Subscribe to this blog to receive email notifications of new posts. Thank you.

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