08/13/2012 07:31 am ET Updated Oct 13, 2012

Dealing With Death and Tragedy

"My Intent is to grieve for my friend's death and then move forward." | Support Samantha's Intent

A friend of a friend died two days ago as a result of a brutal and heinous crime. I had never known of anyone who had gotten murdered. In my world, such things had only happened in films and television shows. The young woman was only 25 years old and had her whole life ahead of her. Even though they managed to catch the perpetrator, there was no comfort in his confession for her friends and family. The viciousness of his crime only matched the absurdity of his motives.

Dealing with death is hard, but when it is a young person who dies, it is even harder. It goes against the course of nature and acts as a bitter reminder that we live in an imperfect world. I was at a complete loss on how to comfort my friend. What can you even say? How do you make peace with such a horrible tragedy? When someone dies by succumbing to an illness, there is comfort in knowing that they are no longer suffering or in pain. But what do you say when someone's life is unjustly snatched away?

I thought about it for a long time, and in the end I concluded that there is nothing I could say to make it better. I have no wisdom to make sense of such an event, nothing to say that will bring her back and no words that will erase the horror that will remain in the life of the people who knew her. The only thing I could offer is a shoulder to cry on and share a poem about death that gives me some peace.

An excerpt from The Beauty of Death by Khalil Gibran:

The songs of the waves and the hymns of the streams
Are scattered, and voices of the throngs reduced to silence:
And I can hear naught but the music of Eternity
In exact harmony with the spirit's desires.
I am cloaked in full whiteness:
I am in comfort: I am in peace.

Unwrap me from this white linen shroud and clothe me
With leaves of jasmine and lilies:
Take my body from the ivory casket and let it rest
Upon pillows of orange blossoms.

Lament me not, but sing songs of youth and joy:
Shed not tears upon me, but sing of harvest and the winepress:
Utter no sigh of agony, but draw upon my face with your
Finger the symbol of Love and Joy.

Disturb not the air's tranquility with chanting and requiems,
But let your hearts sing with me the song of Love,
Mourn me not with apparel of black,
But dress in color and rejoice with me;
Talk not of my departure with sighs in your hearts: close
Your eyes and you will see me forevermore.

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