Even though grief is a natural response to loss, it doesn’t always give a person much warning. Granted if you’re walking someone along the unpredictable path towards their death, you have the opportunity to plan, to think and to make decisions.

However, if the death happens unexpectedly and you’re caught off guard, tremendous feelings of helplessness can fall into place. It is here that the body provides endorphins to give adequate energy to do what has to be done. Drawing support from other people is not always possible. Preparing a list of people to call, writing notices to inform while remaining in touch with one’s own needs can be difficult to keep the path straight in front of your feet. Even though tragedies, as far away as the other side of the world beg attention through the media, those who capture your heartstrings in your community, faith circle and family, warrant loving care.

A family situation can draw you quickly into memories.  That’s where I seemed to go in a recent experience of sorrow, regret, and love. Often those three emotions scramble for first place while making sense of any death. This is normal and can be counted on to appear at the most unexpected time. Honour them, give them a place . . . for a while, and except for love, release the rest. Grieving is a normal emotion — part of who we are. We grieve because we have loved. We would not want it any other way.

Drawing on good memories are winners every time when we walk the grief path. When I think of the one for whom I grieve, musician, writer and faith come to mind. Guitar picking as a master, barre chording as a pro while turning his first finger into a capo; a natural composer of songs; one who strove to understand the mind of a child to carefully explore setting and dialogue; and sketched images to life.

Rest in Peace: Daniel Guy Mann: November 30th, 1969 till January 22, 2019.
Son, brother, father, nephew, grandson, cousin, friend, and child of God.
You are loved.

Remembering our nephew, Daniel.

If you were to write about the impact of the last person for whom you grieve, you would make your own list. And with each talent, skill or interest you will stir up memories to stand in for your loss. Look for good thoughts. They are helpful and life-giving.