By in Family

Death in the Family

We got news today of a death in the extended family. It's a relative that I never met, because of physical and emotional distances that existed long before I joined the family. I had never so much as exchanged an email with this person, or even friended her on Facebook. So it's not like there is any loss to grieve on my own part – and I get the sense that the Wolf isn't feeling much of a loss either. I don't think he really knew her all that well, himself.

But when he cousin reached out to tell us what had happened, we felt very deeply for her.

And knowing the pain she is going through, we are both reliving events of the past. The shock of an unexpected death. The burden of having to arrange a funeral and settle an estate, when you've already got enough on your own plate. Not feeling that you can lean on family. Not knowing just who to turn to. It's a lot to cope with.

My heart goes out to his cousin, and we're trying to help her the best we can. But it just feels like the little we can give is just a drop in the bucket. And I remember feeling lost, and wishing somebody would do more to help us. Dealing with a death is so much more difficult when “family” is really just one next of kin and their immediate household...

So, not trying to wallow in my own feelings here. But I guess feeling rather inadequate. Prayers for those most directly impacted by this loss are most welcome and appreciated.

This is my Family entry for Dawnwriter 's A-W Category Challenge

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Image credit: Graveyard by PublicDomainPictures/ Pixabay ( CC0 1.0 )

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Scorpie wrote on November 24, 2014, 6:57 PM

Empathy is a trait of the best people I know. You can feel someone else's pain without a direct hit yourself.

MarkRobotArm wrote on November 24, 2014, 6:58 PM

Sorry. I'm no good with the prayers. But you and your family are in my thoughts and I'm sending you my love and hugs.

bestwriter wrote on November 24, 2014, 7:04 PM

It is amazing how death can bring us closer and closer to someone who we have never met. Strange is it not?

Ruby3881 wrote on November 24, 2014, 7:13 PM

I hadn't thought of it so much as a matter of empathy as of turning back on my own memories. But yes, I think both of us really do empathize with what the cousin is going through. Thanks for helping me sort the feeling out, Scorpie.

Ruby3881 wrote on November 24, 2014, 7:14 PM

I'll take the thoughts and hugs too, Mark! I take sort of an Anne Shirley approach to prayer, anyways!

Ellis wrote on November 24, 2014, 7:25 PM

I always feel at times like these that words do not convey how I feel...a feeling of inadequacy ensues...

Ruby3881 wrote on November 24, 2014, 7:47 PM

I know that's often the reaction, but I honestly don't feel closer to anyone in this instance. It's more of a parallel experience. I guess that's one of my autistic traits...

Ruby3881 wrote on November 24, 2014, 7:51 PM

I definitely would expect words to be sufficient. I know that beyond the grief, there is just a huge burden involved in settling an estate and getting a funeral together...

Ruby3881 wrote on November 24, 2014, 7:57 PM

I honestly have no problem with funerals or wakes in and of themselves. But since they are for the living and not the dead, I won't go if I don't have a relationship of some kind with the grieving. I've skipped a lot of these functions simply because I had no ties to the family or to anyone else who was deeply affected by the loss.

But I will move mountains if I know I'm needed. I can remember getting up at the crack of dawn to take my baby to the in-laws so they could watch her, and taking public transit for something like 2 hours, just to attend the funeral of a friend's father. His first phone call when he learned his father was dead had been to us, and he came straight to us as soon as he was able. There was no way we were going to miss that funeral, despite the difficulty of getting there. When we realized that he only had four friends there, in all that vast cathedral of mourners, I was very happy we'd gone...

paperdaisyflower7 wrote on November 24, 2014, 8:54 PM

death is hard may it be a relative or a pet. grieving is what we all can do and try to be strong

Glenn wrote on November 24, 2014, 9:23 PM

I know the feeling. I've experienced grief also, when I've heard of the death of someone even though they were not close kin to me. My prayers go out to those who experienced the loss.

BarbRad wrote on November 24, 2014, 11:34 PM

Empathy comes rather naturally to me, and sometimes I feel the pain of others too deeply. I do know it's hard to help someone tangibly who is far away. It's not like you can bring dinner over and just sit with someone and listen in that situation. Local support is really very important. We were very fortunate to have the help of three churches and a home school support group locally when we lost our son.

bestwriter wrote on November 24, 2014, 11:52 PM

I just do not like funerals and I avoid them as much as possible.

Dawnwriter wrote on November 25, 2014, 2:41 AM

While dealing with death, words are so inadequate. Just let the bereaved person/family know that you are there for them and let time heal them. Being a Muslim, I believe very strongly in prayers and their power but when you lose someone, it affects you forever.

MegL wrote on November 25, 2014, 3:15 AM

I think when someone dies, there's always a feeling of loss of the possibilities that could have been there, if you had known them, no matter whether they are a relation or not. There can also be a sense of lost opportunities. I know I felt this for several deaths, especially where I was youngish, when they died because I had not taken the opportunity to know them well.

Donna_Thacker wrote on November 25, 2014, 9:01 AM

It's not uncommon to relive your own painful experiences when someone else goes through it. A friend just recently lost her husband and hearing her pain, brought mine back from losing my own husband over five years ago.

Feisty56 wrote on November 25, 2014, 10:37 AM

I find that another person's loss dredges up memories of my own experiences, too. I guess I just assumed that was a natural reaction. Grief and the aftermath of an unexpected death are always stress-inducing. I am sending positive energy and prayers to the family.

LeaPea2417 wrote on November 25, 2014, 5:13 PM

I am sorry to read this. I know how it feels to have a relative die that I never really knew in this life. It makes me grieve that I never knew them well and wish I had.

CoralLevang wrote on November 25, 2014, 10:40 PM

Ruby3881 You are one of the loveliest, most empathetic persons I have ever met. Dealing with this type of loss affects families, even when we aren't close. You have a heart that cares genuinely for others. Much love and support is sent to you and yours as you share these moments with those who reach out to you. Hugs.

AliCanary wrote on November 27, 2014, 1:17 AM

I'm sure the cousin does appreciate any support that you can give her. Sympathy, for some reason, gets a bad rap, but I think it shows you care, and that's never a bad thing.

scheng1 wrote on December 4, 2014, 4:17 AM

It is always when there is a sickness or death that extended families come together, and these are the people whom we do not really know.

LoudMan wrote on December 8, 2014, 7:36 AM

I'm sorry for your loss. Sometimes I wish I knew something else to say but I don't. All I can offer is my condolences.

shaggin83 wrote on January 20, 2015, 1:29 PM

I think really all you can do is what you are already doing... being there for the ones who do feel the loss personally. Sometimes if people do not know the person isn't what matters just having someone there to listen to us when we need to vent can be amazing!