More than sympathy

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Samantha Ghan, Staff, [email protected]


I was at the Frontrunner station when my mom called.

“Hey Sam, this is Mom. I was just calling to let you know that your Uncle Ted died this morning.”

I sat there waiting for the train and cried. After all the tears were dried up, I wondered what would happen next. This was the first time that someone close to me had died, so at first, I didn’t know how to keep going in my life. The only way I knew I could cope was by talking through my grief.

After that day, I decided to tell anyone who would listen to me; my roommates, my two best friends, and even the guy I was crushing on. Most of their responses were, “Oh, I am sorry.” Some would just look at me with a sad look on their face. No one knew how I was feeling. Those who had never experienced the death of a loved one didn’t understand me.

Finally, one of my best friends who had also lost someone close to her was able to comfort me. She knew I need to cry and talk about it, but she also made sure I stayed positive with my word choices. Talking to her and hearing the words come out of my own mouth helped me come to terms with what was going on in my head. Without saying it out loud I would get depressed and hide out in my room. I didn’t want that to happen to me, so I knew I needed to talk to people about this.

I had a friend in high school whose sister past away. She didn’t talk to anyone about what she was feeling. That made high school harder. She just bottled it all up until she exploded. Talking to someone is the best way to know what to do next. Everyone needs to cry on someone’s shoulder. A support team will be your fall back. You have to let them know, which includes informing them what is going on and why things are so hard. When you can’t stand it any longer, that friend is going to come and offer their hand and help you push through all the hurt.

Remember the good times. When I was younger, my family went to see where my mom was raised, a small town in Idaho where my uncle was living. After a day of exploring the town, we went to Uncle Ted’s house for dinner. My sisters and I helped set the table. Ted’s wife, Barbra, scolded my siblings and I repeatedly about having our elbows on the table. With this focusing on the positive helps the healing process. Right now may be difficult, but the future only holds joy. Joy in knowing that you will be a stronger person from suffering. You know that you are a better person for knowing that loved one. Death may have taken away the one you love, but it can never take away their influence on your life. I am a better person for knowing my uncle. I understand the importance of having manners and keeping my elbows off the table.

Because I was able to learn from my Uncle Ted about how to be a hard worker I do the best job that I possibility can. Working hard at everything that you do is what brings integrity into your life. Uncle Ted was a miner, he didn’t have a college education but through his hard work he made his way to the top and traveled the world for his company.

Second, he also taught me about having a good laugh. My uncle loved to laugh and tease everyone. He would get a glint in his eyes, and you would know that something was going to happen. He would tease everyone individually. When my mom joined the LDS church my uncle would tease her about not drinking but this was actually a form of endearment towards my mom and accepting her for her choices. He respected her for following what she believed to be true.

Lastly, I learned honor, respect, and dedication. Uncle Ted was in the Navy and understood what these words meant. These are the things that Uncle Ted taught in his life. Through his example I learned that knowing these things helped me with his death. I knew that he loved me and was proud of the choice that I have made in my life thus far.

He left behind his family, four children and many grandchildren, great grandchildren and me.  The choices that we make and the lives that we have lived so far have been affected because of Ted. I will live my life so that he will be proud of me. I am a better person because I knew him. Remembering this legacy will help you during the healing process.

But most importantly, just let yourself hurt. If you let it hurt, you can know what you need to do to heal. Letting yourself heal is the only way to take away the pain. Healing is what my Uncle Ted wants me and my family to do. He doesn’t want to see us wallowing because he is gone. He wants to see us celebrating his life.

All of these things, living my life fully, loving and respecting others, working hard, talking to people and being able to celebrate Uncle Ted’s life, knowing that I am a part of his legacy, has helped me deal with his death. Yes, there are some days that are harder than others, but that is when I take stock of my life and remember that I have to keep living for him and for everyone around me.