Dealing with death and loss

By  Dominique Bennett, Youth Speak News
  • May 22, 2009
On April 10 I was getting ready for another tedious day of school, looking forward to the long Easter weekend and preparing myself to speak with family members who would be particularly emotional because it was a day before the two-year anniversary of my uncle’s death. I was also feeling particularly sorry for myself, believing that I truly deserved this break because the stress of school was becoming unbearable.

Isn’t it funny how one phone call can suddenly change all that? My friend called me from school informing me that one of our peers had died suddenly and tragically.

This situation helped me to remember a saying my mother used to pound into my head whenever I became ungrateful. She used to say: “Count your blessings, one by one.” The fact that it sometimes takes a catastrophic event  for us to acknowledge just how privileged we are is heart breaking.

I was introduced to my uncle while I was still at a shy stage in my life and was not willing to spend time returning his attempts to get to know me a little better and share a few laughs. Nine months later he was killed in a tragic car accident. I do not believe it was a coincidence that the anniversary of my uncle’s death, the death of my school peer and the anniversary of Christ’s crucifixion all occurred during the same weekend. These were three amazing people who took time to reach out to people, more specifically to me, to make my life that much better, but I didn’t take advantage of the opportunities.

I have reflected on how often Christ has reached out to me to strengthen our relationship and I failed to accept Him.

For many, the only time people contemplate how great He’s truly been to them is during Easter when His brutal death is brought up. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Tragedies should always be used as an opening for personal revelation. Each person was created with a God-given purpose and would never leave the Earth unless they fulfilled this purpose.

Of course, this may be difficult to believe because many have died young, yet sometimes an individual’s purpose is to simply bring hope and joy into the life of another.

I’ve heard stories about women who were told they could never conceive a child, and when they were finally able to, the child died soon after birth. Despite the obvious grief over their loss, the women say that during the short time they had with their child, the child gave them far more than they could have imagined or hoped for.

So as a special note to those in my school who are mourning  the sudden loss of our school mate, and my family as they cope with the unexpected death of my uncle, and to all of those who are dealing with a tragic loss — please take this event as an opportunity to improve on your own lives, using the lessons and joy that the loved one brought to you.

(Bennett, 17, is a Grade 12 student at Senator O’Connor College School.)

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