Losing a Loved One

"Loss of a loved one" is pretty high on the Holmes and Rahe scale of stressful life events. It's in the top five.

My family is dealing with this one right now. We are going through a painful period due to the sudden death of my 24 year old niece Kate who was killed in a hiking accident in Oregon a couple weeks ago.

Kate, God bless her, was a handful in her teen years. But in her early twenties, she left New Jersey, first to Vermont, then to the Northwest, to find herself and create a new life. We often wondered when the phone would ring with the call that she was hurt or hospitalized. But to our surprise, the calls were quite positive: she was happy, healthy, working, and going back to school for a degree in Environmental Studies.

She loved the outdoors and died while doing what she most enjoyed.

We, the family in NJ, have heard that her friends in Portland have made a cross in Kate's memory and have placed it on the trail near the point where she fell.

So how do you cope with the sudden loss of a loved one like Kate?

You grieve. You pray. You cry. You laugh remembering stories about her life. You hold her in your heart and try to imagine her face, her voice, her presence.

The other day, I came across a blog entry on Dick Richards' site about finding peace of mind, where he provided a link to Debbie Call's blog where she outlined the 3 Breaths:

1) Let Go

2) Be Here

3) Now What?

First, a breath to let go of whatever is in the way. Then a breath to center oneself in the moment. Third, the breath of possibility.

I'm trying a blend of the three breaths with prayer and meditation as a way to navigate the painful loss of a loved one.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, March 28, 2010


Jennifer said…
I'm sorry to hear about your loss. I live in Portland, not far from the Columbia River Gorge, and I followed the story of your niece. I was sad to hear about the outcome -- we always hope the missing hikers or climbers will turn up cold and hungry. Hang in there. I know it can't be easy for you and your family but there are a lot of people out there praying for you.
Kathy said…
I worked with Bob at Summit Bank and knew how proud he was of his children. My condolences to the family. She was an amazing person and truly a child any parent would be proud of. Reading the stories in the local paper, I didn't realize it was Bob's daughter. I worked with him at Summit Bank and heand my husband grew up together in Milltown and went to OLOL together. We keep the family in our thoughts.
Liz said…
My condolences on your loss -- what a tragedy, for your family personally, and, it sounds like, for the world at large. Thinking of you.
Terrence Seamon said…
Jennifer, Kathy, and Liz, Thank you for your kind comments on this posting about the loss of our dear Kate.
Meg said…
My heart is heavy in sympathy for your loss. I lost my fiance in Afghanistan in September 2009. I started my own blog as a result of dealing with the anxiety/panic attacks from the loss. I found your post today as I was searching for other blogs dealing with loss, and it brought up yor post. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, as I know there are still difficult days as years go by.


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