The Day Muhammad Ali Died

Mohammad Ali; “The Greatest”, “The People’s Champion”, “The Louisville Lip” died on June 3, 2016. What followed was an outpouring of love, admiration, and memorial of a giant in boxing and humanitarianism. Many spoke of the influence on their lives, the chance meetings or escapades in the ring. In that number were many of my friends and family members, most if not all I can confidently say never met, saw in person in the ring or read an extensive article or book about Mr. Ali, but all the same changed their Facebook profile image to show him respect, proclaimed to ‘pray for his family’, and spoke of the great loss to our country if not the world.

I was angry and disappointed in them all.

On May 11, 2016, 23 days prior to Ali’s passing, my granddaughter Alanna died in an accident. A life cut short many would say, but one of great impact and love. A life I felt seemed of little consequence to some that should have cared more about it.

I WAS WRONG, not in thinking they should care more (how could I truly measure that anyway), but instead by placing the significance of her life to me (and the outward public show of that significance) on others. Grief can do that to you, make you feel as if others don’t care about your loss.

I came to understand:

  • Grief is personal and individual – Our family and friends share our grief and loss, but they have their own individual journey to travel. The goal is to help each other travel a path that leads to healing. As long as each person travels in a healthy way, we should not analyze or criticize that journey.
  • Anger and hurt are very different, but can feel the same – I realized I was not angry, but hurt and disappointed in how others were (or were not) grieving my dear Alanna. I even had frustration with complete strangers just because they were going about their lives and not even acknowledging the loss I had suffered. How can I honestly expect someone to care when they don’t even know? (I will expand on this in another post).
  • My fight was/is with myself, not them – In grief, pain is guaranteed, suffering is optional. Pain in grief comes from the love of the person now gone on to glory, suffering is self-inflicted. I had to chose to hold on to the love (and pain produced from it) instead of the suffering I brought on myself by being concerned with others ‘level’ of love or grief for Alanna (and many other things). We have to make a conscious effort to honor the love we have for those we have lost rather than hold on to ‘slights’ outwardly or inwardly afflicted in grief. Though I am not there yet, I’m trusting that healing is a lot easier from a place of pain than from suffering. Grief is hard enough, why make it that much more unbearable by adding suffering? (Psalm 55:22)