A couple of months ago, I received a text from my friend Jenifer who lives in Haiti. It read, “I don’t know if you have heard but Amy’s dad passed in his sleep”. My heart dropped. Amy is one of my besties from college and I met her dad this past summer in the Chi. I knew she had to be heart-broken. I wanted to talk to her and let her know I was there for her but at the same time I didn’t know what to say. When we did speak she was holding up pretty well but did cry a little and I almost broke down. I had to pull it together. I couldn’t be strong for her if I was crying like Squeak from The Color Purple. I thought about how it must feel to lose a parent or anyone close to me in my life. I wanted to take her pain away but I couldn’t. I had a knot the size of bowling ball in my stomach. All I could do was pray she focused on the light and it comforted her.

Losing a close friend or family member is always a hard pill to swallow.  All we can focus on is how much we need and want that person to still be in our lives. We don’t want to have to cope with the emotions of longing for their presence. In the midst of grieving, it’s hard to remember that it’s not about us and that every story has a beginning and an end. The only thing guaranteed in life is death and many people fear that. Death is scary for most of us but it shouldn’t be. There is life after death if you seek the light. We sometimes get caught up in how great it is to live on earth and can’t imagine anything better. Death is the start of a new life that is so amazing that we can’t even begin to wrap our minds around its glory. Your loved one isn’t lying in a box 6 feet under; they’re freeeee.

It is natural to be upset and saddened at the death of someone you love especially when they may have died a sudden death or in a tragic way but don’t dwell on this. The person that you have loss has gone on to a life that is more beautiful than we can ever imagine. They are happier than they have ever been and experiencing peace and love like they never have. In the world, we will have trouble, pain and heart ache. There are people who constantly hurt, lie, deceive or disappoint us. When you pass on- this will all dissipate.  Smile when you think about them being gone.

Usually, around a birthday or the anniversary of someone’s death, that pain and hurt begins to resurface. A good way to cope is by honoring them in some way; create something positive.  After Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew were murdered by her sister, Julia’s estranged husband she stated how she hated the days approaching the anniversary of their death. She and her sister decided to organize a yearly toy drive, “the Julian D. King Gift Foundation” in honor of her nephew. They gave Christmas presents to thousands of disadvantaged children. She says that she now looks forward to that day every year.  One of my high school friends, Courtney, began a scholarship fund for her sister after she was killed in a car accident after leaving a college football game. Giving is always the best medicine for pain. Everyday, take the time to express love for those who are still here. Don’t wait to give them their roses. If there were things left unsaid between you and someone who has passed, there will be a day when you can express everything that fills your heart but if all you wanted to say was, “I love you” they already know.

Have you ever had to cope with losing someone close to you?