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P.S. I Love You (01 April 2007 - 1:03 p.m.)

No April Fool's jokes, although I did have a spectacular one played on me this morning, courtesy of my dear friend, LA. As I told her, "God will get you for that, Walter." Coincidentally, getting hers, she is indeed. In spades. And I couldn't be more delighted! (By the way, I'm not talking about revenge for a prank. Be assured that it's all good.) LA has a lot to do with the "lessons learned" part of this entry, so it is very fitting that she's been mentioned here.


I just submitted my last assignment for the bereavement study. My task was to imagine that it is now 2009, and write a letter to my brother, describing how I overcame major obstacles or challenges. I had to address the meaning of my loss, and talk about any lessons I might have learned from what I have been through.

This is what I came up with.

Dear Mark,

Tears fall as I write this letter. We didn’t see much of each other prior to your death, but my love for you never wavered. You were so special to me. You were my darling baby brother, my cherished little boy. I adored you. I was fiercely proud of you. You were a wonderful child, and grew to be a wonderful man. I only wish I could continue to watch you grow far into the future.

Losing you has left a tremendous hole in our family. When we first got word that you were missing in a boating accident, we were like the walking wounded. As days passed, and your body had not yet been recovered, we became more like members of the living dead. We shuffled around aimlessly. Not knowing what happened to you, or where you were was absolute torture.

At the very beginning, the family was galvanized into action. We got together every day, and talked to each other on the phone very frequently. Then, as time passed and the initial shock wore off, we withdrew into ourselves. We felt defeated and paralyzed.

Getting out of bed in the morning was a major struggle for me. The obstacles in my daily routine were overwhelming. Everything was just so hard to face.

Little by little, I came back to life. I stopped dwelling on the circumstances of your death, and started thinking of you at peace. Most importantly, I began making a conscious effort to live my life the way you lived yours – to the fullest. I am now much more socially active, whereas before, I lived the life of a hermit, avoiding people and not socializing much. I am spending a lot more time with friends and family members, and enjoying every minute of our time together. I want them to know how much I love and appreciate them.

When you died, I questioned the meaning of life. I couldn’t see a purpose. It seemed that life was just an endless stretch of pain and heartache. I had to make a real effort to express gratitude for the good things in my life, but it was well worth it. Being thankful for the positive has helped me to better deal with the negative. Gratitude can be healing.

I’m supposed to write about the “meaning” of my loss, but must admit to feeling stumped. Does death have meaning? What your death means to me is that many lives have been irrevocably changed. Our beloved son/brother/father/grandson/fiancée/grandfather/friend is gone. If there is a meaning in all of that, it is beyond my comprehension.

Yes, there have been lessons learned. I learned that I have the strength to get through such a terrible ordeal. I now realize that life is precious, and we get out of it what we put into it. I have learned that life is meant to be lived. But I would trade all of those lessons just to have you back again.

I miss you, Mark. You will be in my heart forever.

I love you always,
Stephanie

Song of the Day: P.S. I Love You by The Beatles

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