It was a negative surprise. He was young and vital and smart and funny. I wasn’t ready to delete him from my life. I guessed God needed another pilot in heaven. I had to find a way to let him go and “be there” for his wife. Both of those processes had to happen at the same time. I wasn’t sure I was up to it. On the first phone call to her, I said, “I cannot imagine how you feel. The best I can offer is my love and my prayers and whatever else you ask of me.”
I was quiet then and I waited. Finally, I heard a sniff and she said, “That’s all I need.” We both said, “I love you” and hung up. I sat in the dark curled up in a ball on my couch and looked at the black night outside. For some strange reason, I was comforted because the blackness outside matched the black emptiness in my heart.
My friend had a house full of people, maybe too many, surrounding her for the next many days, maybe too long. Then someone took control and monitored the comings and goings. She needed air to breathe.
The people I told about my loss were few. It was as if each time I said out loud that he died I had less of him on which to hold. Those few wanted to help me grieve. They wanted to support me. They cared for me.
I realized that supporting others through grief is one of the few life skills you do NOT learn in Kindergarten. Most people don’t know how to help others through emotional pain. They try. They mean well. They say things like, “I love you.” “You are not alone.” “Give yourself time. You will heal.” And you will, with differing degrees of difficulty requiring different amounts of time. There is no one answer. So what do you do in the gap?
Historically while grieving I have often found myself shopping for unnecessary things. Unfortunately, the grief relief lasted only as long as it took me to drive home and open my purchases. And when I looked inside I found my grief staring back at me.
“What she did not know, and would never have believed, was that though her soul seemed to have been grown over with an impenetrable layer of mold, some delicate blades of grass, young and tender, were already pushing their way upwards, destined to take root and send out living shoots so effectively that her all-consuming grief would soon be lost and forgotten. The wound was healing from inside.”
Please join me at the table of connection. It’s your place. It’s the place of possibilities.
You are not alone.
You are not your circumstances.
You have everything within you to live a purpose-filled life.