The Webster dictionary describes the word bereavement as a state of being sad because a family member or friend has recently died. For anyone who has lost a loved one, they know in reality bereavement is a word that cannot be defined.
Bereavement is a feeling with unknown depths triggered by love which too cannot be measured. We know love is a whole host of meanings with many acts of endearment far beyond words. So I have to wonder, if it’s difficult to describe the feeling of love, how can one put a definition on the feeling of losing it. How can we possibly describe the feeling of saying good-by to someone who’s a major part of our inter being and the foundation of our true existence? How can we possibly put a word to the depth of pain caused by the separation from our loved one ? We can’t. There are simply no words to describe it.
Being almost an expert of the bereavement state of sadness, I feel totally qualified to comment on the subject. Several years ago when my best friend suddenly died of a heart attack, I not only felt sad but I also felt lost. She was my confidante and collaborator. She was the one person I ran to when life got difficult. She knew me better than I knew myself. I felt I needed her validation before I could make my next move. I trusted her with my total being. When she died, her absence made me feel incomplete. How could I put words around that feeling? I couldn’t. I had to learn to live with a barrenness.
A few years later, bereavement hit me again. My beautiful 23-year-old niece was in a car accident. The damage took her life, but not physically, until a few years later. Seeing her in a semi-comatose state was a form of bereavement. When she died, we experienced a second level of grief barren bereavement. Once again, sadness is not the word I would describe the feeling to be. My family was at a loss of what to say or do. The depth of pain was indescribable. Our whole life changed. Yesterday we lived in a perfect world. The next day we were grief stricken. How do we put that in words?
Bereavement was not finished with me yet. The same year my niece had her car accident, my 21-year-old son had one too. It killed him instantly. My beautiful son was taken from this life in a nano second. My beloved son who looked like me, talked like me, acted like me….someone who was a better version of me, was gone in a split second. My heart was not broken….it was shattered. My heart, my mind, my body and my soul were greatly affected by the absence of one wonderful human being. Sad is not the word I would use to describe me.
So now you know why I think I’m almost an expert on bereavement. What I’m not an expert on is the definition. I truly think the word cannot be defined. The feeling it represents cannot be defined. Love, its opposition and ally, cannot be accurately defined. But through experience, I am confident in what I do know.
Bereavement, regardless of its universal definition, has the capability of destroying you if you let it. It can rob you of life itself, leaving your beautiful spirit to die with your loved one. It takes courage and strength, and above all – Faith in God – to get us through that indescribable feeling that simply cannot be put into words. So grab hold of your strength, fight with all your courage, ride that darkest wave, but do not let bereavement prevail. I did all of the above and now a few years later, I can triumphantly say…with the grace of God, I made it through.