Janis is a licensed professional counselor in Washington, DC. Areas of specialty include grief, loss, life transition, and trauma recovery.
The News of Sudden Death Hits Hard
Sudden Death Loss
Traumatic Death of a Loved One Jolts Us Without Warning
A terrorist attack. A natural disaster. A heart attack. A fatal car crash. A murder. These are tragedies that come without warning, unexpectedly, and . . . suddenly. The end result is that someone loses a loved one. Lives are turned upside down never to be the same again, without any preparation. One of the most painful realities is that both the surviving loved one and the deceased, never got the chance to say goodbye.
There are no words, no understanding, no explanation that makes sense of it. The occurrence of sudden death is probably the most devastating type of loss one can experience with no comparison to any other traumatic event. The poem below addresses this type of loss.
The Unexpected News is a Surreal Nightmare
A Poem About Losing Someone Suddenly and Tragically
I still cannot believe it,
That shocking Friday night,
A ringing phone, the piercing tone,
Something wasn't right.
My sister called to tell me,
A tale that wasn't true,
With crazy plot that Earl's been shot,
She must have misconstrued.
Within the passing seconds,
The tale begins to form,
Earl is dead, just like she said,
Erupting like a storm.
Loss Hits With the Force of Thunder and Lightning
The thunder and the lightning,
Winds blew ferociously,
No warnings or predictions,
It all came suddenly.
In the a.m. hours,
Pouncing like a thief,
Taking life and causing strife,
To resolve a petty beef.
Who would want to kill him?
My brother I adore,
Thirty-nine and out of time,
With whom was he at war?
They didn't really know him,
A precious soul was he,
There is no way that they would slay,
A man of such degree.
The loss is unbelievable,
Creating a huge space,
In my heart that's ripped apart,
Resides a small dark space.
Our lives are void of sameness,
My family and me,
A day at a time, we attempt to find,
Answers to the mystery.
As we continue the struggle,
Recalling his smiling face,
We remember the days, as we pray,
For Your healing grace.
As grief and pain live on for us,
We find relief in You,
When life and death meet, the journey's complete,
We know Earl knew it, too.
We hurt because we're human,
We accept our loss as true,
We are relieved that Earl believed,
In salvation, he knew You.
The Shock Brings on Disbelief
The Dark Clouds of Grief Pass After a Time of Mourning
Healing From the Tragedy
It takes time to process, accept, and eventually live with the loss of a loved one. The healing time can be unpredictable as the reality of the event sets in and becomes a part of your daily existence.
Sudden death is even more difficult to process as it comes with many levels of complications.
The hardest hurdle to face and conquer is the fact that you never had a chance to say good-bye to your friend or loved one. So many loose ends and personal matters will go unresolved forever.
These realities make healing from a sudden death tragedy a task requiring a lot of patience, support, and time to absorb.
See the self-help resources below on the effects of trauma. Also consider the assistance of a grief counselor or grief support group for more structured support to help you and your family members cope with the death of your loved one.
Tributes Often Include the Lighting of Candles at Vigils
Resources for Survivors of Traumatic Loss
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Information & Healing (PTSD) - Gift From Within
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is real. Gift from Within is a non-profit organization with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) information and healing resources (articles, ptsd videos and dvds, poetry, art, stories, webcasts)
© 2012 Janis Leslie Evans
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on March 02, 2020:
Thank you, Bushra. It is still hard.
Anya Ali from Rabwah, Pakistan on March 02, 2020:
May his soul rest in peace, amen.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on December 04, 2018:
Hi John, no apologies needed. I'm so pleased this poem article continues to be popular. It's universal, so many people can relate. Thank you so much for your generous comment. It means a lot coming from you. I appreciate your visit.
John Hansen from Queensland Australia on December 03, 2018:
Janis, I was reading another hub and this was among the recommended other reading. I see this is a few years old so I am sorry if commenting rekindles sad memories. I am sorry for your loss, it doesn't matter how long ago, but this is a wonderful tribute to your brother Earl. the poem was exceptional. Thank you for sharing.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on July 28, 2018:
Thanks, Ryan. I appreciate that. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read and comment. Glad you liked it.
Ryan Jarvis Cornelius from Hollywood Florida on July 27, 2018:
Wow. I wrote a poem called depression years ago and this is similar to it. Nice work. I love how it all came together. This is wonderful. My condolences to you.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on August 29, 2017:
Oh, Shyron, very sweet of you. Thank you for reading it, glad it touched you. I appreciate the hugs and the visit.
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on August 28, 2017:
Janis, your poem is exceptional, my heart aches for you.
I can relate to all that you are feeling.
Blessings and hugs my friend.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on August 28, 2017:
Thank you so much for the understanding and for the hugs. It still hits me as if it was yesterday sometimes, especially because it is an unsolved cold case in Buffalo, NY. Many readers relate as so many families have been touched by the murder of a loved one. Bless you, Paula, for stopping by.
Suzie from Carson City on August 28, 2017:
Janis......Although this was some time ago, I know all too well of the pain and emptiness that remains throughout our lifetime. Please know I relate and truly understand how such a loss can change us forever. Sending you hugs & hope for your continuing strength. Paula
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on November 15, 2015:
Hi Inez! Good to hear from you, sis. So glad you found me online. We all miss Earl so much. I know this poem holds a lot of meaning for you, as it does for all of us. Blessings to you and your hubby, too. Thanks for stopping by to read my articles.
Inez Edwards on November 14, 2015:
Janis, What a beautiful poem about Earl. He was a bright and shining star. I am happy to stumble across your hub and articles. You're so gifted my friend. God bless you and Hubby. =)
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on February 25, 2014:
Hi lissamasters, thank you very much. I appreciate your visit and lovely comments.
Melissa S Masters from Massachussetts on February 25, 2014:
Beautiful and beautifully written. Thank you for sharing something so deeply personal and sensitive... thank you for the "voice in the darkness" ... the dark abyss of sudden loss. Love this work.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on August 06, 2013:
Thank you for those comments, Jackie Lynnley. It's good to connect as like-minded poets. It is still painful. I appreciate your visit and kind words.
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on August 06, 2013:
Your poetry style is a lot like mine which of course appeals to me but I have spilled many tragedies in poetry too, such as this. It is a cleansing feeling to be able to do that I think although painful at times in the writing. Very beautiful; if sad.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on May 16, 2013:
Wow, Poetic Fool, glowing critique! I really appreciate that, so glad you it appealed to you. It took a year and a half for me to sit down and put those feelings on paper. It just wouldn't come until it came, as I sat in a dealership waiting for my car in the shop. Thanks so much for the votes and for sharing.
Poetic Fool on May 16, 2013:
Such a wonderful poem on such a tragic topic. You've expressed the shock and anguish well. Your poem is well-crafted, the rhythm and rhyme are exquisite. Voted up and sharing!
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on May 13, 2013:
I appreciate that tillsontitan. Thank you for reading and voting.
Mary Craig from New York on May 13, 2013:
Time can never erase the pain of losing someone the way you lost your brother. This beautiful poem is certainy a tribute to him filled with love and shared emotions. God bless.
Voted up, useful, and beautiful.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on April 23, 2013:
You're welcome. I appreciate your help, too. I do remember we did talk about the loss of our brothers so you were there. Yours was very recent while mine was in 2004.
Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on April 23, 2013:
Thanks for sharing this Jan. I have been very selfish with my grief. I haven't been very supportive of others as I sometimes feel overwhelmed by my own pain not realizing how many others out there have gone through and are still going through it.
I am really sorry about your loss. You have been so supportive of me since you joined Hubpages and I really appreciate you.
Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on April 23, 2013:
I'll come back and comment later......
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on April 10, 2013:
Thank you very much, ExoticHippieQueen, for you kind condolence. I'm glad you liked the poem.
ExoticHippieQueen on April 10, 2013:
I'm so very sorry for the loss of your brother. The sudden shock seems to make it all so much worse. It's a beautiful poem that conveys all of these feelings.......
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 16, 2013:
Thank you so much, Vicki, for your comments. So true that no one could ever understand 'the thunder and the lightning' unless they've been there. Thanks for stopping by.
Vickiw on January 16, 2013:
Your poem and observations are lovely. Sudden death of a loved one is in a league of its own. Unless you have suffered it, it is impossible to imagine the trauma of it. Thanks for writing this
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on January 11, 2013:
Thank you very much, Rob. I appreciate your comment and your taking the time to stop by.
Rob Winters on January 11, 2013:
I was truly moved by this Janis.Up & Beautiful :-)
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on December 31, 2012:
Thank you, rajan. I appreciate your prayers. Although it's been a few years now, the shock lingers. It all comes when there is senseless murder like in Newtown.
Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on December 31, 2012:
I'm sorry to learn about your personal loss and indeed a life cut short so abruptly is shocking to the core. I pray for strength to you and your family to bear this huge loss.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on December 16, 2012:
Thank you so much, Break of Dawn, for your kind words. It is still tough at times, particularly with all of the tragic loss going on right now. It just brings it all back. I'm glad you stopped by to read it and comment. This one is very special to me.
Break of Dawn on December 16, 2012:
What a terrible tragedy to lose your brother in this senseless way. Your beautiful poem made me so sad and brought tears to my eyes. My prayers are with you and your family.
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on October 15, 2012:
Thank you for your love and prayers, FaithReaper. Im so glad you got a chance to read this very personal poem and appreciate the ordeal my family and I endured. God bless the new life of your grandchild. Beautiful pic :-)
Faith Reaper from southern USA on October 15, 2012:
God bless you dear one. What a living nightmare to endure, the sudden death of a loved one! So senseless indeed! Your poetry vividly describes the shock of it all and the horror to its core. I am so very sorry for your loss dear one. As you say, there are no words here to comfort. It is, as you have stated at the end of your poem, a relief and comfort to know of his salvation and you will see him again. God bless you for your strength in sharing this with us all here. I am praying for you and your family.
God bless. In His Love, Faith Reaper
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on September 23, 2012:
Thank you, Phyllis. Yes, endless sorrow but we learn to incoporate it into our lives. Thank you for reading and for your sincere comment.
Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on September 23, 2012:
Jan, such a tragic thing it is to lose a loved one to an unexpected and sudden death. Losing my eldest brother was devastating, the tears and sorrow seemed to never stop -- it was the love and faith that pulled the family through a tragic time of loss.
Blessings and healing light to you and your loved ones.
Rich from Kentucky on September 14, 2012:
What a terrible tragedy. Your poem says it so well, but I wish you didn't have a topic like this to write. Thank God you and your family have survived the event with faith! God Bless!
Janis Leslie Evans (author) from Washington, DC on September 13, 2012:
Thank you so much for your comments and your well wishes. I appreciate it.
Shelley Watson on September 13, 2012:
A beautiful, heartfelt poem for your brother. Bless you both, and I wish you strength. Up, interesting and beautiful