I wish I could sit with you.
No one has ever had this moment after this death of this person. And no one will again.
Each time I talk with someone following the death of a loved one, I listen to their pain, I listen to their silence, I listen. And then eventually, gradually, I offer some thoughts that respond to their loss in this moment.
I’m a hospital chaplain. I’ve had a few hundred opportunities to listen and think and respond to parents and children and partners and siblings and friends. I’ve also walked through loss as a son, a father, a grandfather, a brother-in-law, a friend. I’ve been on your side of the bed in these moments for my parents and our daughter.
I’ve found that some thoughts seem to be helpful for more than one person. And so I’ve gathered some of those here. Read them all at once or as you need them.
Although I know not everyone is a journaling person, I’ve given you some space to write some of your own words, as you walk through the next days and decades.
This isn’t a book to read through. I wouldn’t say all of these things all at once. It’s more like a conversation where you can bring a question, read and set aside and read and toss across the room and read and write in and reread.
Though this is written by a hospital chaplain, I’m not going to preach. Instead, as we go forward, I’m praying for your peace.
And don’t forget to eat something. I know that doesn’t sound spiritual. But you will forget to eat. And you need to eat.