Giving Sorrow Words

I read a little of Rebecca Abrams’ ‘When Parents Die this evening, which my friend Garry, whose father died while he was 12, lent me. It arrived with a heart warming note inside:

‘I hope that when you find time to read this book, you find solace. I know I did, even after many years! It might put a few things into perspective.’

I have been amazed time and again over the past two and a half months, since my mother’s death, how these small gestures of friendship, caring, and solidarity can make such a significant difference, and I will be ever grateful for each and every one.

There have been a few sections in the book that have struck powerful chords with me over the past couple of days, and I feel I need some time to cogitate over each of these a bit further. There are two quotes I would like to share tonight, however. The first is from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and I used it as both my facebook and Skype status tonight:

‎            “Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak,
Whispers the o’er fraught heart, and bids it break.”

The second are the author’s words, and ones that spoke of how I have instinctively felt about my mother’s death, and wished I could convey to the world. So, tonight I will say it using someone else’s words.

“You do not ever ‘get over’ the death of a parent. A parent’s death is not a fence to be climbed over, or a stile to be crossed. It is an event which shapes your life from this moment on, just as, when still alive, your parent played a huge part in shaping your life. A parent’s death totally alters your perspective on life. It changes the way you view friends and relatives; it alters your attitude towards work, play, sex, religion. You are not the same person after someone you love and need and care about has died, and to think of ‘getting over it’ is a waste of time. The very best you can hope to do – and in fact it is the very best you can do – is adapt, be flexible, find ways of fitting into your changed world. You do not get over a death, but you can come to terms with it. You can learn how to fit death into life somehow; how to find some place in your life for the experience that you have been through – and continue to go through.”

8 thoughts on “Giving Sorrow Words

  1. Dear Laurel
    I am glad you are also finding that the ‘thoughtfulness’ you need is not coming to an end.

    “Coming to terms” takes a long long time. Recognising that we are now in a very different space. Our lives have been shaped by she whom we loved, and we must n go on shaping them around those still here whom we have to love, and around her memory too.

  2. Little acts of kindness and love do mean such a lot. I love the quotes – the one from Shakespeare is one that I know well and is often in my thoughts when my tongue is tied up!

  3. I agree… I think a parent’s death must be something to learn from, not to forget or get over like we do with relationships in general.
    The bond will always be there. Hopefully, memories will become sweeter as time goes by and you get to put your thoughts and feelings in order.


  4. Laurel, both my parents died suddenly when I was 4 years old. The excerpt from the book resonates strongly for me. Even after more than 40 years, the loss still surfaces from time to time, often when I least expect it. After so many years my grief now feels bittersweet in a sense. A sadness remains but it is also a link to my parents, most importantly their undying love and support for me. Coming to terms with my loss has given me layers of resilience, empathy and love and has significantly shaped my life.

    1. Ah Kath, I cannot begin to imagine losing your parents at such a young age – I find tears springing to my eyes, though it is wonderful to hear how you can still feel linked to them, and find the positives within your life. It is interesting how I suddenly find my words so insignificant in the fact of another’s loss, whilst I can give words to my own. Sending you a huge hug, and love x

  5. Hello there,
    My mother just passed away unexpectedly earlier this month (I’m 34, she was 68). Thank you for sharing your journey. No one prepares you for such a loss and words cannot describe.

  6. I will never forget this post, these 2 quotes and your words have sunken deep into my heart and soul.
    As well as the comments below.
    I always like to keep my little acts of kindness and love strong for my friends and loved ones whenever I can.
    I feel that I have a strong heart, at times maybe too much and I should give myself a break. But I am trying to create a balance between making myself happy and others.

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