The passing of someone we love hurts. I should know because I have lost many loved ones in my life. When a beloved leaves our life, it can feel like someone has reached into our chest and pulled out our heart. I’ve often described the sadness as an emotional pain that can be felt at a physical level. The sick stomach, the headache, the fatigue, to mention a few physical symptoms many of us experience after we’ve lost a loved one.
Being an end of life doula can be like a case manager, event planner, or a personal assistant to those who are dying and their loved ones. It is “up close and personal” at a heightened awareness of death and dying in a way that doesn’t get shut off when I am not in the presence of those I serve. In fact, I find that thoughts about all aspects of the human experience of end of life get visited and revisited in my mind on a regular basis. I guess I want to understand the experience better in hopes that I will learn new ways to be of greater comfort.
A little over a week ago, while I slept, I lost one of my oldest friendship relationships. Gone are the opportunities to see my friend, to touch her, to hear the sound of her voice. That familiar feeling returned to me, the one that felt like a big dark cloud had just come between me and the sunshine. The tears flowed freely as multiple memories rushed to my mind, saying “You’ll sure miss that, and that, and that!”.
Since that day, I have had many thoughts about the sadness we humans experience when we lose a person with whom we have shared love. Although many of us feel that we are unsure if we truly understand “Love”, there are some aspects that I believe to be true about it. I see Love as being unconstrained. I believe that it can stand alone, without needs. I don’t think it necessarily always obeys rules. I don’t believe that it can be destroyed. And I somehow feel that it is no respecter of time or space.
So the question I find myself asking is; When someone we love passes, where does the Love go? And although I am not clear about the answer, I tend to believe that wherever my beloved is, we are continuing to share the love. And I am comforted by the bible passage, John 18:9–”Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.”