To remember and grieve the loss of someone you love

April 25, 2007 at 4:48 am 5 comments

One of the most moving songs I’ve ever heard is a song called Now That You’re Gone by Fernando Ortega. Yet its theme is death—a theme most of us would normally choose to move past and not dwell on. For me, the song triggers memories and emotions associated with my grandma Maude, who died of cancer in 2001. She was the closest and most significant person I first lost in my young life.

I have many sad memories of my grandma’s last living months. Cancer was all throughout her body, and she had lost some of her mental abilities. I was visiting her one time in the nursing home, and she thought I was her brother Edward. She was not well at all and was complaining about pain in her legs. She cried, “my legs! my legs!” I felt miserable knowing I was helpless to do anything for her pain. I plead with the staff to give her pain medication immediately, but they were so very slow to respond. Thankfully, she was nearing her last days, although I had no idea. I had never watched a person die before, so I didn’t know the look of death as I do now.

I have many regrets about my relationship with my grandma. I wish I had the maturity then to take care of her as she deserved. I was selfish and unaware how short my time with her would be.

Maude was a beautiful woman. She made sacrifices very few people would dream of making today. She went mostly unappreciated by her husband of 50 some years, yet she was hardworking and faithful. I knew I could always talk to her, and she would listen and politely say “yes sir” in affirmation. Every Easter she would make her coconut bunny cake decorated with jelly beans. During the Christmas season, I knew I could sneak into her pantry and find cans and cans of fudge. I always looked for the peanut butter and chocolate fudge with the rice crispies inside. Yummy! Those were my favorite. She did so many things well and was truly kind and generous.

My grandma was always thinking about others. When me and my sisters would visit her, she often sent us down the street to spend time with an elderly widow friend of hers. I never understood why she did that, or why the lady’s house smelled funny and her phone rang as loud as a fire alarm. All I cared about was what kind of candy she had. But my grandma was always thinking of others.

Those are the memories of my grandma I want to hold on to—the happy ones that remind me what a wonderful person she was and that the rest of us are worse off without her. I want to remember the sights, smells, experiences, and interactions that assure me “I am loved,” because they remind me of her and her love.

As a Christian, I know there is hope and death is not the end. Yet I know there’s a place for expressing the feelings associated with losing someone dear to us. It’s appropriate to recognize that the loss of someone so loved and significant to us will change our lives forever. Since time is a healer of wounds, our feelings will gravitate away from despair—which is where we can find ourselves soon after a loss—and toward fond memories.

For me, this song expresses the lost hope most of us feel soon after a close loved one has died. The lyrics of the song are below.

***

Now That You’re Gone

I knew this life was full of sorrow
but still I believed
that good times would follow,
that the evil would falter
and true hearts would rise,
true hearts would rise,
that simple dream ended
on the night that you died.

And even the sound of a whistle fading
brings back the longing
and stirs up the aching.
Peaceful companion that grounded my soul,
you grounded my soul,
the world spins without meaning
now that you’re gone.

Sometimes I still think
I will see you in New York,
and we will meet on the platform of the train,
and with your great leaning stride
you’ll cross back to my side
and my old life
will be my life again.

You were quiet as a winter sky
where planets turn
and the North Star rides.
My sweet brother, so reasoned, so calm,
my brother, my own,
the world spins without meaning
now that you’re gone.

Sometimes I still think
I will see you in New York,
and I will meet you on the platform of the train,
and with your great leaning stride
you’ll cross back to my side
and the sweet life
will be my life again.

I knew this life was full of sorrow
but still I believed
that good times would follow,
that the evil would falter
and true hearts would rise,
true hearts would rise,
that simple dream ended
on the night that you died.

***

The lyrics are written by Elaine Rubenstein in memory of her brother Allan Rubenstein. The song is performed by Fernando Ortega.

***

Entry filed under: Christianity, Death, Grief, Hope, Life, Love, Marriage, Music, Relationships, Story, Suffering.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tammy  |  August 29, 2007 at 11:18 am

    I also listen to this song over and over again. We had a loss in our family that rocked us. Our son, then 17 loss his faith over this event. He is 24 now and still very wounded by it.

    This song puts into perspective his grief for me. It helps me pray for him more, and let him walk this to the end. I know God is Faithful when we are faithless.

    I love your comments. It helps to share our griefs.

    Reply
  • 2. Bess  |  November 2, 2007 at 1:25 am

    this song really speaks to me in the sudden loss of one of my closet friends, who was killed in a car accident just 11 months ago. It still hurts today, yet God is still GOOD.

    Reply
  • 3. victoria  |  April 19, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Lost a dear sister a year ago while delivering through ceasarian, she lived and died for her husband and memories of her were scrabbed like she never existed yet she sacrificed a lot for her marriage. Remained faithful to the end…it hurts

    Reply
  • 4. Jim  |  September 13, 2011 at 12:34 am

    I can’t really share my heart hear, as I am still walking this out… but wanted to touch this place and leave a footprint. God bless you. I am so thankful for the mercy and grace of God. He is far less diligent to be critical as He is to cleanse… I like that about Jesus.

    Reply
  • 5. David G  |  March 2, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    My older brother was killed in an automobile accident when I was 18. The sense of loss never goes away even after so very many years. This beautiful song and the emotion conveyed expresses the sense of loss and grief that I feel.
    I miss you James.

    Reply

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