I am not unfamiliar with grieving, and yet each time Life requires that I encounter it, I am yet again surprised by its strength. I know from past encounters that the intensity will pass – there will come a time that I am not aware almost every waking moment of the depth of this loss. But that time has not yet arrived.
My husband and I both lost beloved brothers – barely two weeks apart – to metastatic cancer. Both men lived wonderful lives – one a world traveller and humanitarian, the other a brilliant scientist and sharer of knowledge and kindness. Their accomplishments were many, but it is their connections to their families and communities that live on in my memory.
Grief is heavy. Grief is physical. I am sleeping but wake up exhausted nonetheless. Moments of unexpected sadness come at random moments – just now, thinking about Glenn, wishing I could tell him about a new find in our family tree, wishing I could ask him a computer question. Little things.
I am grateful that I was able to spend time with him in person. My daughter and I went to California – the vaccine finally giving us the opportunity to go – we would have gone long since but the pandemic stopped us. We were able to be with him – to say we loved each other – to essentially say goodbye. We hoped it was not the last time – but it turned out that way.
The words of a poem by Steven Spender have meant a lot to me in these last days – in particular the last several lines.
I Think Continually of Those Who Were Truly Great
“Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields
See how these names are feted by the waving grass
And by the streamers of white cloud
And whispers of wind in the listening sky.
The names of those who in their lives fought for life
Who wore at their hearts the fire’s center.
Born of the sun they traveled a short while towards the sun,
And left the vivid air signed with their honour.”
My brother touched many lives – and for me, that is the measure of greatness. Love to you, Glenn, and Godspeed.