July 21, 2020
How to get over loss and grief: lessons from a man who has lost almost everyone he has loved.
I met William in Broward County. He had just saved his neighbor during a chaotic standoff. The woman’s mentally ill son had taken his parents hostage at knifepoint and was refusing to let them go. William, a veteran, a neighbor across the street, saw an opportunity and jumped into action pulling the woman out of the garage.
While they all waited for authorities to arrive, William went back to packing his U-Haul for an upcoming move. A hero, in this situation, he acted as though he had done nothing out of the ordinary.
His calm and cool demeanor was impressive. It led to a heartfelt conversation.
William is 71-years old. He rides a Harley-Davidson. The kind of bike you know it’s coming when it’s two blocks away. He is a war veteran and a man who is not afraid of dying.
“I lost all my brothers in combat.” choking on his tears, he says.
He admits, the loss he has felt in his life is sometimes too much. He struggles to find answers.
“Why me? Why did I survive?” He asks.
How to get over loss and grief of such magnitude can be debilitating.
He relies on his faith to get through the day.
The tattoo of the word “believe” on his arm is a reminder that there is a reason for why he survived and a reason for him to live without fear.
He wants everyone to know that living is what he chooses to do despite his sadness and guilt. And…living is what we all need to do especially at our most challenging times.
It’s a choice we all have to make consciously every day in order to appreciate the gifts around us.
Update: The stand off ended peacefully. The man turned himself in and let his father go unharmed.