Death.  Many don’t want to talk about it.  And yet, in these days of COVID19, death is in the news.  Daily.

Whether death happens at (or close to) a birthday, at Christmas, Hanukkah,  Kwanzaa, Valentines’ Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter – at any time – the subject of death is the proverbial ‘elephant in the room’ at home, work, a social gathering, on the phone, in social media. 

When family, friends, pets we love, die, the elephant has walked into the room.   Phrases like these come our way.  I’ve heard them all – and more.
“It’s just been a week/few weeks. You’ll feel great in three/six/twelve months.” 
“It’s been almost a year. It’s time to get over it and move on.”
It’s just a dog/cat.”
“You’ll be fine once this holiday is over.”
“He didn’t deserve what he went through, so God gave needed rest. God’s garden must be beautiful.  He only takes the best.”
“You only knew them through Facebook.  How can you grieve someone you never met in person?”
“You knew it was coming.” 

What to do if someone says something similar to these to you? 
Ignore their comments. 
You know the truth.
Love cannot be defined by anyone other than the parties involved. 

While grief never ends, it changes. 
Grief is a passage, a journey, not a place. 
Grieving isn’t a sign of weakness, or a sign of lack of faith.
Grief can begin even before death arrives. 
And, grief can be cumulative.

Sometimes, the death of someone brings forward negative memories … of abuse, victimization. 
Seek help. 
Find ways to release that person’s hold on your life.

Sometimes, death can bring forward thoughts of guilt … we “didn’t do enough” … we weren’t “there when they were dying.” 
In these COVID19 days, being with our loved ones may be impossible and guilt surfaces. 
Seek help. 

No matter what the circumstances – let us be gentle with ourselves as we grieve.

Let us remember those who have died … and where possible, remember them with joy in our heart, with gratitude that our paths connected. 

May we acknowledge that our loved ones will always be with us in some way in our hearts, minds, memories. Death ends a life, not a relationship.

May each person who has died, rest in peace.  

When the “Trigger Moments” of grief show up, and they do show up often in the most unexpected times and places, ‘Trigger Moments’ might be of encouragement:

Remembering this day, April 26th, Hans van der Werff  (April 29, 1929 – June 26, 2016), beloved husband.  Rest in peace dear Hans.  Rest in peace.


The framed work of the phrase Death Ends A  Life, Not a Relationship” was created as part of a teaching series for the “Seeing With New Eyes” calligraphy workshop which I taught when workshops were happening in person. These days, it’s ZOOM workshops, and I haven’t yet decided whether or not to step into that new teaching mode.   Btw, the flowers are from the back yard – grown from seeds that were volunteered by birds flying by.   🙂

© June Maffin