Norris’ younger brother, Wieland, was killed in Vietnam in June of 1970. It was a devastating loss for Norris who was both an older brother and a father figure to Wieland.
Growing up, the Norris’ family struggled to get by. The father was largely absent and it meant his mother worked full time forced to leave Chuck Norris in charge of his two siblings. “Since we couldn’t afford a baby sitter and my mother and to work, I had to rush home from school every day to look after my two younger brothers.”
So, when Norris received the phone call informing him that Wieland was dead, it was a crushing blow. In his book The Secret Power Within, Norris writes: “I had nothing of greater value than my brother. I would have given anything not to lose him, and there was nothing I could do to get him back. That sunny June day was the saddest day of my life.”
With the passing of time, with support from family and friends, with grief work, Norris emerged from the tight grip of loss. He describes his grief journey this way:
“Consolation comes in many forms, all of them meaningful and helpful to a degree, and families, even small ones, can generate enormous amounts of power support to deal with such a terrible loss. The first piercing grief eventually becomes a kind of ever-present sorrow that doesn’t seem to want to go away ever, but then it does; or, rather it grows into something else, something you know you can live with, although at the same time you know you’ll never forget.”
In spite of this pain, Norris has lived a remarkable, fulfilling life. He is an inspiring example of this truth: the power of grief to disable us is temporary. There is within the human spirit a greater power, one that is able to overcome the troubles and trials of life.
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