Laura lost both her parents and a dear friend suddenly and unexpectedly.
Sudden and unexpected death is a unique kind of beast
in the world of death and dying.
The call. A sharp gut punch. The disbelief.
Having your mind be unable to catch up to the words you are hearing.
Heart racing, the breath comes in uneven choking gasps.
Telling the others and trying to hold their shock and sadness
even before you have had time to absorb your own.
Then you figure out how to get everyone
to the same place, at the same time, as soon as possible.
And once there, you “identify” the body
and “make arrangements” for its disposal.
This body that used to be your person.
You find comfort in the company of the others
who loved and lost as you have.
You come together to make the plans that need to be made.
To tell stories. To cry and to laugh in loving remembrance.
You lean on any rituals and traditions you have that speak to you.
You create a sacred space woven with your people and their tears.
A sanctuary in time when all else falls away,
and your only task is to grieve and hold on to each other.
Hold on for dear life.
And then, reluctantly, after a time, you disperse
and go back to your lives, where each of you must find a way
to integrate this new reality into your old one.
Traumatic. The day it happened.
Years later still observing death day versus birth day.
Distinct moment it all changed. The Before and the After.
Bringing an unnatural fear of sudden loss.
Who will be next? Have to catch yourself,
and know it won’t always happen this way.