This archived article was written by: Dave Adams
Life is funny sometimes when you look back. Even if you’re just out of high school, you can always look back on things that you have done and most of the time, you can even laugh over them.
You’ve always been told that life is short, but how short is it and who determines how long? Some look at the religious aspect of it and say, “They’re in a better place” or “They’re with the angels” while others say, “It was just their time.”
We all experience loss in our lives for one reason or another, that’s just how life rolls; it’s what we do when loss happens, that’s what defines us.
Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be hard, even if the one wasn’t a loved one, it can take an unforeseen toll on a person. Talking helps and yes, you big tough guys, crying also is a form of true coping.
Sometimes it can be hard to admit that we cry, but deep inside it’s an expression that the soul uses to show pain and anguish.
A large part of my soul was torn out when I spent nearly three years in a combat zone. During the span of three months, my unit in the U.S. Army, was the 3rd squadron 3rd Armored Cavaly and had taken 23 losses due to heavy combat action. Three of these soldiers were in my direct unit and one of the three was a very close friend named Lyle Cambridge.
Mourning for these soldiers was the best way to cope with our loss, even though our morning period was short due to the circumstances we face.
Being able to accept the fact that they were gone and there was nothing I could do to bring them back was one of the best ways to overcome the hurt and pain. Remembering them for who they were and their achievements in life was also a strong way to get through the mourning period.
Everyone has his or her own way of coping and getting through the pain. There are many ways to do this, even if you have never had to deal with loss before. Except for turning to substance abuse, suicide or complete shut down, there really is no wrong way to cope with loss that I have seen; it’s whatever helps you cope and move on in life.
Death plus death never equals solution. If there is one thing that I learned in life is that dying over the death of a loved one will never bring the loved one back to life. No matter how you look at it, more death will only bring more heartache and pain for the survivors.
Remembering a person for their attributes is a great way to move on with life. Memorials and shrines to remember a person for the good, is a wonderful way to say, “I will never forget you.” I have a memorial tattooed on my left forearm to help me remember my close friend that I lost in combat.
The tattoo is of a feather with beads. Above it says, “Shik’is sila’ tsoi bena’sh’nii,” which translates from Navajo as “My friend, my brother, I remember.” This helps me always remember my Navajo friend and our closeness that we had while serving in the military.
I can’t say that I’m a professional when it comes to how to deal with death, but I can say that I am a professional at how not to deal with it. There are many times when I look back in life and wished I had used the counseling offered to me.
I do look at life as being short when I look to the past, but when I look forward, I see my life with the possibility of being long and prosperous.