The joyful sorrow of the memories
Remember the poem by John Donne we read together that one time?
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls
It tolls for thee.
The poet/minister wrote it some 400 years ago, but I think he got it right then, and I think he has it right now. I mean on this day. The day of your funeral. I know life has losses. We both do. We are grown-ups. But I could deal with it better if only I could go home afterwards and phone you to tell you about this day, these bells. The problem for me is that this day, these bells, are about you. — from Chapter 1, “For You the Bell Tolls”
Here is a collection of short reflections on the death of a sibling and/or best friend by a woman who has lost many of them in her 80-some years. Helen Reichert Lambin is the celebrated author of many books, including The Death of a Husband, Letting Go from A-Z, Prayers for Difficult Times, Creating a New Normal, and From Grief to Grace. She has announced that this will be her last book on grief because “I’ve finally said everything I need to say” about life, and death, and hope, and faith, and love. “And the greatest of these,” she insists, “is love.”
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Helen Reichert Lambin is author of ACTA’s An A-Z Guide to Letting Go; Prayers for Difficult Times, Prayers for Sleepless Nights, The Death of A Husband, and Constructing a New Normal. She has also contributed to Hidden Presence and Diamond Presence. Now in her eighties, Lambin lives a full life in Chicago, where she is affectionately known in the community and local media as “the tattooed grandmother.”