When everything is not going to be okay, what do you say?
20 januari 2017
A classmate who died during a car accident, a sport mate who committed suicide, a fellow student who died due to a stupid bacterial infection, a friend diagnosed with cancer, another friend who lost his spouse way too early due to cancer, a nephew who lost both his parents at the age of seven. These are just a few examples of the loss and grieve I have encountered in my life when anything you say feels wrong, because you know that the future life of loved ones are lost, forever.
Over the years I have observed loved ones who deal with loss and know that the hole left behind will always be there. Time doesn’t heal, it only makes it a bit more bearable with every day passing.
Online friend Stephanie Booth shared this article today, written by Liz Petrone, and it brought tears to my eyes, because what the author writes rings true. She explains that her mantra always was: Everything is going to be okay. Yet, after losing her own mother she discovered these words didn’t work.
Now the words were hollow and flat, not even touching the ache in my heart. Because here’s the thing: there is no “okay” in grief. There is the loss, and then there is the hole in your life shaped like the person you lost. That hole doesn’t fill back up, I have come to realize. Time might heal wounds but it doesn’t fill holes and it certainly doesn’t bring anyone back. It’s been three years and I still think I sometimes see my mother out of the corner of my eye in a crowded grocery store or driving down the highway. The best I can hope for is that the raw edges scar over and I don’t have to walk around torn open and ragged forever.
The she asks the question:
How do we comfort each other when the simple truth is life is so hard and loss is inevitable and it hurts like a son of a bitch pretty much forever?
She discovered the words that do work while consoling her son after he took a tumble:
“I’m here,” I said quietly, trying it on. It felt right. It wasn’t a lie. “I’m here,” I said again, louder this time, and he softened into my chest, accepting that there was indeed space in me for him.
Those are exactly the words that describe what I’ve learned over the years when dealing with other people’s pain. It is a simple guide to know what to do when shit hits the fan in the lives of those you love: just be there. And being there can come in many shapes in our connected world.