Lately, so many precious hearts in my circle have been dealt painful, hard blows from life.
Whether it be fate, God's will, or pure chance matters not. The hardship, the loss exists. The grief, the heartache over it... the questions of why or how could this happen...the recovery (ooohhh how HARD is that word?!) as life must go on...yes, life does go on.
Whether it be death, illness, tremendous loss, betrayal, or heartbreak that has occurred...these precious hearts have to keep living.
And then, due to the intimacy that Facebook and other social media has created...due to the inevitable "touching" of our souls through the internet's waves...we are faced with the choice of reaching out, of saying something (but what to say? are words even GOOD enough?) and the choice of shrinking back behind the screen, in shock and horror of the levity of the blow they have been dealt! We are faced with the terrible situation of observing their experience from across the miles … and now, touching their pain.
What have you done when this has happened? Do you find yourself in the same dilemma I have over and over?
Do I reach out and say something (though it could sound horribly trite!) and express the tears welling up in my eyes even as I read of their painful event? Do I quickly scroll past their post...reading on again to help avoid it and soften it and cover the initial shock with cute cat pics and funny FB memes?
This post is NOT a condemnation if you have scrolled past, neither a how-to for those of us still struggling over how to be a "friend" to those in hurt...
This is merely a post of my heart's grieving whisper out loud. I was pondering on this as a dear friend expressed earlier that today was her son's one-year anniversary of his passing...her beloved, adult, ONLY son. And as she expressed herself so authentically, so honestly she exposed her pain and grief, I was moved to tears - shaking, cleansing tears.
Because I cannot even imagine loss like that.
Then, I was moved to post a "hopefully comforting comment" on her post...but that same, negative, nagging voice whispered...but what if you say the "wrong thing" to her...what if you comment and it only causes more pain? Or you sound stupid? Yada yada...the doubts went on.
Then I remembered a day in late June of 2000 - a hot and sticky summer day, when Juan and I were trembling and tears were streaming down our faces...we kissed her soft, fuzzy head and nuzzled her cheeks for the first and the last time...we tried to memorize the way her hands looked, so tiny yet so perfectly formed....we held her, even after her first squeak and last breath...and then, with gently nudging from the wise nurses, we reluctantly passed her wrapped, still body to them to be taken away.
I had just birthed, and then we held her while she died, our first daughter, Sela. And then we went home. Home alone. The still, too quiet house where we laid in bed and I sobbed while he held me and stroked my hair. Home, where I was supposed to bring her. Home, to cook and clean and live like my baby, my daughter wasn't lying still and cold in the morgue. Home, where my milk came in and my breasts swelled and I couldn't suckle the baby my body was trying to feed.
And people said things.
Some said kind, thoughtful things. Some just cried with me and couldn't find "words" but spoke anyway. Some said thoughtless, sharp things better left unsaid, no matter the good intentions.
But I remember feeling that those who "said something" were still welcomed by my grieving heart...and that it made us human together. That they were trying (feebly though it may have been at times!) to feel with Juan and I...to be there.
They were sharing in our grief by entering it with us.
So this post is to encourage you...that when someone in your life is hurting, grieving, in pain...enter their space. Yes, it may feel awful or be awkward (especially at first!) and you may have nagging doubts about whether or not your "words" are helpful or comforting. But, from a mom who experienced loss and grief all those years ago...I am assuring you, that when you say something from a heart of kindness and a place of grace, your words will matter. Your heart will matter.
If you have been struggling through something hard or have experienced loss, we want you to know that you are not alone. We support, love on and pray for each other in our FRESH Start community group (it's free) and we'd love to welcome you there.