Death comes to us all. It is the time of death that is unknown. It is the people left behind who have to try to make sense of the loss. We do not know what happens after we die. We each have our own beliefs. It is the people left behind who I speak of now.  We all grieve differently. We all have to come to terms with our feelings for the one who has passed. Whether it be a family member, friend or a mere acquaintance. I find these feelings to be difficult to come to grips with.

I have lost people through out my life. My Mother, Father, Grandmother, a Nephew, my Father in Law and a few friends. It doesn't get any easier. They are all a little different to understand, an illness that ends the suffering, a car accident, age itself, cancer, heart attacks,suicide and more. Just because you understand and can accept that death is part of life, does not make grief go away, it just makes it different.  They say grief comes in stages. I say grief is different for everyone.  I don't think death is ever easy to accept. I think the circumstances surrounding the death however can effect the way one handles grief.

What are we grieving, exactly?  Do we grieve that the person is no longer able to live this life? Do we grieve that the person is no longer here to be a part of our own lives?  I think it is both. I grieve for the family, I grieve that the person's life is over as we know it. I grieve for myself and how my life is effected without them in it.  The closer we are to the person the harder we seem to grieve.  It is not to say that any one person's grief is any more important than the next. Just that we can only deal with our own thoughts and feelings.

The sad part of all this is we usually never showed the person we lost how much they truly impacted our lives. We get reminded all the time, that life is short and we need to take the time to tell people how we feel but do we do it?  Sometimes, but usually we don't. We take things for granted. We think we will have time. We let life get in the way. Ironic isn't it, that we need to tell people how much they mean to us, to have them in our lives, only to have life be the reason we didn't tell them.

Over the last couple years, I have learned that things that are truly important to us, we will make the time to accomplish.  This goes for talking to people also. We all need to take a minute to evaluate those important to us and make the time to be sure they know it.

Memorial and Services. Over the years I have attended funerals, memorials, services and parties. I have also encountered people who wished to not have any type of service.  I personally have a hard time dealing with this. I have spoke to people who say, "I don't want people to grieve for me." Really? I don't think grief is something we choose to do.  Our feelings play a huge part in our lives, if the person is important to you, touched your life, you will miss them, you will grieve.  The services : whether it be a funeral or a party is for those left behind. A chance for people to remember and reflect, to have closure, to say their goodbyes. Especially if the death was sudden.

In recent weeks, I have lost three people in my life.  A friend from high school, a business colleague who I have known for almost 20 years and a personal friend and client.  When I encounter so many deaths in a short amount of time, it gets to be a bit over whelming.  For me I find having a service helps me sort out my feelings and express them to the family. One person couldn't afford a service and lived out of state so I was not able to attend. One person wished for no service at all, so again I was not able to attend. The third has yet to be determined as it has just occurred within a day of this writing.  Think of those left behind when making your final wishes. You were important to people, they need to grieve. Those of us left behind will of course respect your wishes.

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I know it sounds cliche but take the time to tell people what they mean to you. Don't wait until it is too late. You may never get that chance, Take the time to think of how people will feel once you have passed from this life into the next.  Think of how you feel when you lose someone, what you did to handle the overwhelming amount of emotions you encountered.

In closing, my point is this : live your life to the fullest and include those closest to you. Share your feelings and let them know how much they mean to you. You never know how it could affect them. You also don't want to have the regret of missing your chance.


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