Another friend of mine buried her mom today. It was unexpected (as if Death is polite enough to leave a calling card) but the sting is certainly intense and will be lasting. I hugged my friend on a Sunday after service. Hers was a “I sympathize with you” kinda hug. The next time we met it was a “I empathize with you” kinda hug. In two short days her world had turned upside down.
Triggers abound as I plow through completing her mother’s funeral program. Using a similar format I used for my own mother’s and yielding the only gift I could give in her time of sorrow. A text here, a text there. Because talking would be too hard. Setting a pace of expectations. To do lists, what to address and what to ignore. Trust your friends I say. They want to help you through this I remind her. Words that were shared with me at one time. Our OCD personalities connect as she wades through this murky water. While others fawn and respond to her immediate needs now I opt to stay away.
For I know the weeks and months ahead will be a lonely trail of sorrow. A valley of the shadow of death walk that only she can take. It is then that the check-ins, the calls, the talks, the Bible verses of encouragement will be needed. So today as many gather about for this final farewell in support of my friend. I will stand on the side lines. Recalling my personal pain and asking God how best to use the lessons of loss I’m learning to bless her in return.