Death is Hard to Understand

By Julianna W.

8 January 2018

In Memory of the Weiss Family

When someone important in our lives is suddenly gone, especially without explanation or warning, it is not something that we can fully grasp or understand. Yet we all lose people we love. Every religion justifies, celebrates, or attempts to explain death in a different way, including whether and to what extent an afterlife exists. But when a loved one dies, our hearts are broken, our faith is tested, and we look to our friends and family for support – to help us try to understand why the inexplicable has happened. It is completely normal to question everything, including our faith, and we ask things like, “How can a good person like this die?” and “How is it that the world will continue to go around – without my friend – when my world feels like it is falling apart?” When we lose someone unexpectedly, it is even harder not to question everything we know. I know this firsthand.

Too many people in my life have passed away too soon. Whether from an illness or a tragedy, their deaths have left a profound loss in my soul. While the pain and grief may subside over time, the loss and heartache never leaves.  Over time, you will remember the good memories you had with them rather than the end.

When my grandmother passed away two years ago, it felt like my world was falling apart. My grandmother was everything to me. She took care of me every day after school when I was little and she taught me everything that I know about my Spanish heritage. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in February of 2009. I knew I had lost my real grandmother when she did not remember who I was in 2011. When she eventually was put into a Alzheimer’s care facility, it got more and more difficult for me to go visit her. When she passed on November 14th, 2015, it felt as if a part of my life was gone.

What I realized through my grieving is that she would not have wanted me to dwell on the fact that she was gone. She would want me to remember the good times that I had with her and to take the lessons that she taught me into the next phase of my life. This applies to anyone that we as individuals or as a community lose. The person that is no longer with us would not want us to dwell on the sadness of losing them, but rather look at all the good that they did with the time that they had. We should remember the person’s beautiful soul and the characteristics that made them special. They would want us to look for the light in this time of darkness.

The Shorecrest community has lost a beautiful family. Whether you knew the Weiss family on a personal level or not, you knew them and I knew them because they were a Shorecrest family — a family just like mine and likely just like yours, and their deaths are irreconcilable. When we see these kinds of stories on the news, we distantly think, “That is horrible for that family or that community,” while subconsciously relieved in our misguided belief that such a tragedy could never hit so close to home. It saddens me that this has happened to such a loving family.

Something that I have realized through the deaths of my grandmother and others in my life is that life is too short to worry about the small things. Society has programmed us to meet deadlines – to run like hamsters on wheels, trying to do everything that we possibly can to meet the expectations of others. Every so often, we should stop and think about what makes our life beautiful and who brightens our daily life. At the end of each day, we should show our love and gratitude to our families and our friends, because the truth is that none of us know when our last day is going to come.

Although we all come from different religious backgrounds, I feel that this quote can give some universal comfort: “When tragedy and loss happen, God will bring you through. He is close to the brokenhearted.” We all have to lean on and support each other in this time of grief. No matter how distant you feel in this time of sadness, you are not alone.