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Sudden Death and Loss of a Loved One to Gun Violence: Poem About My Brother

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

When the news of the death of a loved one finally hits, it hits hard like a ton of bricks.

When the news of the death of a loved one finally hits, it hits hard like a ton of bricks.

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.

Sudden Death Loss

The Unexpected News is a Surreal Nightmare

It's like a surreal nightmare, leaving you with a light-headed and faint feeling.

It's like a surreal nightmare, leaving you with a light-headed and faint feeling.

A Poem About Losing Someone Suddenly and Tragically

"Sudden Death"


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 news literally feels like thunder and lightning ripping through your body.

The news literally feels like thunder and lightning ripping through your body.

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

When it's the death of someone close to you, it takes some time to believe and comprehend as reality.

When it's the death of someone close to you, it takes some time to believe and comprehend as reality.

The Dark Clouds of Grief Pass After a Time of Mourning

Peace eventually does come through the darkest clouds of grief and loss.

Peace eventually does come through the darkest clouds of grief and loss.

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

Traumatic loss can elevate faith and help the bereaved find solace. Candles are used often as symbols of hope as loved ones keep memories alive in their hearts and minds.

Traumatic loss can elevate faith and help the bereaved find solace. Candles are used often as symbols of hope as loved ones keep memories alive in their hearts and minds.

Resources for Survivors of Traumatic Loss

© 2012 Janis Leslie Evans

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