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I received a very honest letter from a friend a couple of weeks ago. It was a short letter, barely two lines long. I guess she wanted to keep it simple, since her life must be getting quite complicated nowadays. You see, she just lost someone she loved, and we all know when that happens, our world generally gets turned upside-down.

Her email asked me a couple of questions, but they were questions that couldn’t be easily answered. Her words stared back at me from the screen and I struggled for the right thing to say. She was asking me how long will the grief last? How long will the pain of losing someone you love last? After a while, I decided to answer her as honestly as I could. Why? Because I wished someone told me the same things when my mom died instead of trying to sugarcoat the reality of the situation for me.

I told her that the grieving will never stop, because there are still moments in my life when I still catch myself crying whenever I remember my mom, but I did tell her that in time, the emptiness and pain will be much easier to bear.

I also told her that she might reach a point when she will get angry with the world and with the people around her — and that’s okay. I was enraged for a long time. I couldn’t believe people could go about their lives laughing and be so blissfully unaware. I mean, how could they enjoy life when someone who used to make me laugh, who used to fill my life with love was now suddenly gone? It just didn’t make sense and it felt so unreal and so unfair.

If I told her about rage, I also told her that unlike pain, the anger will vanish in time. She will learn to smile and laugh again, because if there’s one thing death could make anyone realize is that, life is too short to remain angry for too long.

I also warned her that she might suddenly start to have questions about faith. I told her that when my mom died, there was a part of me that rebelled against God and questioned Him and life in general.  I reached a point when I couldn’t hold it in anymore: I ranted, I raged, I talked to Him as if He was in the room with me and I cried.  Deep within, from my very core the tears came … I cried out all my fury and my pain, and I knew that God heard me and He listened. I can’t explain how, but I knew that He was there the whole time I dished it out. Yes it’s a good thing that God is a patient and faithful God — He never turned His back on me when this happened. After that, things started getting better.

Above everything else, I told my friend that she will survive. Life will not be as sweet as it used to be, but she will overcome and survive — and that’s what matters most.