Sometime in the midst of my ‘years of loss’ I talked to one whose husband had taken his own life, who also happened to be my childhood friend.
Suicide – – touchy subject, for even though my life has been touched often by this form of loss, society still does not see it in the same light as other losses and any forms of philosophy I came up with to deal with my own hurt have yet to show up on the pop-culture stage.
This means there is no backdrop to my particular thoughts – no frame of cultural reference – and so, I try to keep my peace when talking with one who shares this type of loss…
- My thoughts do not seem to inhabit the world I live in by any great majority
- Those grieving may not be ready to hear my thoughts
- What, in the end, do I really know, anyways?
But, bless her heart, she called and I called and after several hours of conversation, I managed to get the courage to say what I was thinking,
“Why are you so upset they said that? You and I have discussed that perspective many times?”
Well, it turns out, having loved and lost, I’m one of the chosen few who can get away with saying such things…
Because, I know.
Sad, but true. If you’ve either bounced through life never really losing anything dear, or covered it up so well that grieving friends are ignorant of your loss – you’re screwed.
You can spout off the most eloquent truths in the most heartfelt way, but in the early days of their grief, they’ll not afford you the privilege of being heard.
Because, to their eyes, You Don’t Know.
But let you count among their ranks – let you suffer losses they fear they couldn’t have borne and magically, you can say durn near anything and it will be accepted as gospel.
Sad, but true…
A high school friend of mine lost her dad with no forewarning nearly a year before I lost mine to the the two year battle with lung and brain cancer.
After my son died unexpectedly, I met her and her mom for lunch. I apologized to her – saying I now understood the vast difference between having time to grieve before the loss and having no time at all.
She has never called or spoken to me since that day. I’m sure it’s my fault – still not sure exactly why. Was it because she thought I understood before, and I just admitted I didn’t? Or was her grief still so fresh, she couldn’t forgive me bringing it up?
Or, the thought that occurred to me in the deep of the night – Was she too guilty to hang around, knowing her children lived and mine didn’t? Did she not want to think that her children could be gone as quickly as her dad and my son?
Grief and all it’s thoughts are not pretty things, at times…
We try our best to love those who have lost. We reach out, hoping that what we have to give is enough and wanted. We push forward or hang back – afraid to love in a hurting away or to come too near to that which we fear the most.
But in the end, we may just not know enough, today. About them or ourselves, or Life or what it means.
And that’s okay too…Because today’s flub may become tomorrow’s wisdom.
Or, it may not – the only thing that counts is that we tried the best we could to lend support from our awesome or limited understanding.
And it may be years before either they or we realize…
We’ve Always Known.