I lost a loved one when I was 12. He had a serious substance-abuse problem and due to that, had a fatal car accident. He was not a family member but someone in the community who saw that I was lonely (7th grade blues) and did what he could to help. He was several years older than I was, and took an “older brother” role. I don’t have any older blood siblings. I’ll call him “Daniel” after the Elton John song about someone who died young.
It has been a complicated process dealing with this grief, b/c he had some very serious problems as well as the ability to be kind and compassionate. And when he died, I did not feel that I had an “official” role in mourning b/c I was not a “recognized” friend or family member.
It has been hard to deal with this over the years. In fact it was a major part of the reason why I left the Church and am having difficulty with the idea of returning. I had confided in a priest about certain aspects of this situation, which I feel could have saved his life if the priest had handled it correctly, but the priest (who left the priesthood many years ago and is now in jail for abusing someone else) failed to do anything constructive.
Sometimes I miss him so much I can’t stand it. I’m in therapy and I see a psychiatrist so there are no crises here. I just don’t know what to do about my faith. What I would want is to see him again after death in a “purified” state where he no longer has the problems that he struggled with while alive.
I don’t have an easy question here, but I’d welcome any thoughts people have about grief or issues of faith when someone dies young, and it quite possibly could have been prevented if adults had helped. I was 12 when he died and there was just too much I didn’t understand.