Lost one remembered 32 years later
My 13 year old brother was on a fishing trip with our aunt, uncle, and cousin, when he accidentally drowned. I was 16 at the time and he was my best friend. My sister was 10 when this happened. That was 32 years ago before there seemed to be any recognition of sibling grief and not that much about parental grief in our small, rural town. Not knowing what we were doing, we all sort of went our separate ways. I don't believe we ever discussed Joe again, at least not in front of my Mom. She would just fall apart. After she died in 1996, my Dad seemed to need to talk about him, even taking a road trip to the lake where he died. Surprisingly, I don't think we were uncomfortable talking about him, and we realized just how many memories we lost by not discussing them. Another aunt once told me that the worst thing we all did through this was to stop talking about him, but it was done to protect my Mom (or we thought we were protecting her) Yesterday, I ran into a classmate of Joe's. She shared with me that a classmate of her first grader son had died, and he was having trouble dealing with it. She had sat next to Joe in band class and had several classes and home room together, so they were good friends. Because of that, she was able to talk to her son about his loss and let him know about her experience. She said they had a good talk about Joe and her son't lost classmate. I was moved by the realization that other lives were touched by our loss, and glad that after all these years, he was being remembered by other people. Back then, there were no counselors for the children - I don't remember anyone (teacher or classmates) ever mentioning or expressing concern about it. It seemed that if no one mentioned it, it didn't happen. I find that there are still people that way - I guess discomfort and fear of saying the wrong thing makes them not say anything at all. My husband had also run into a classmate of Joe's who told him he was his best friend and how sad all that had made him. It's a real comfort to know you aren't going down this road alone, and has made me doubly aware how important it is to continue to remember loved ones out loud and share good memories as well as the sad. I hope someone has something nice to say about me when I'm gone!
Have any of you had a similar experience years after a loss?