I have just had a shattering loss. It isn’t my first and it’s not likely to be the last. What has sustained me are my friends – the phone calls, the cards, the expressions of sympathy.
So I find myself thinking how difficult it is for most of us to convey adequate words – especially not in the efficient coldness of a text! A friend who is usually eloquent simply said, “I’m sorry.” Then apologized because she couldn’t say more. But a genuine “sorry” can be enough. It’s like a hand reaching out to yours. Any heartfelt words can help. What I don’t want to hear is the cliché, “It’s for the best.” Best for whom?
Too often a message reflects the other person’s need, not ours. I’m thinking of the nights when I came home from an exhausting hospital vigil, and heard a recorded message from a woman who “had to hear” and “needed” to know what was happening. But I was so drained that speaking to her was more than I could handle. By contrast, another friend left messages that weren’t demanding, such as: “Just want you to know I’m thinking of you.”
Yet in the midst of our grief we can be thoughtless, ourselves. For we often don’t recognize that we aren’t the only ones who are suffering. Friends may be losing a companion of many years, losing shared memories, losing the possibility of any more joyous times together.
So I will try to tell my friends, I know you miss him, too. For when I’m open to listening to their pain , and to sharing about the beloved person we’ve both lost, it strengthens the bond between us.
This makes each of us less alone.
Books: Widow’s Walk – available through iUniverse.com;Turning Toward Tomorrow – xLibris.com; Ten Women of Valor and Role Play -Amazon.com and Amazon Kindle