Time is a healer; they say. When we grieve the loss of a loved one, nobody can pretend to know that pain. Although almost everyone has loved and lost someone dear to them throughout their own lifetime, each person that grieves goes through their own process and feels as though nobody has known pain like they are experiencing. There doesn’t ever seem to be the right words at those moments when we offer our condolences other than, “I’m sorry for your loss.” For what else can we say? We can’t compare our losses to someone else’s and we can’t pretend to know what they are feeling.
I know I have been to more funerals than I care to count, and for me the hardest part is paying condolences to the ones left behind because I feel that my words cannot do anything to alleviate what they must be experiencing. Yet we follow the protocol of giving condolences, sending flowers and cards because even in those moments when we feel our words can’t help, down the road when time passes and the griever can find a special part of their heart to lay their loved one to rest, they can look back and remember who was there for them, if only in silence.
Today is my step-daughter Sue’s birthday. Sue passed away in March of this year and as a single mom, she left her two boys behind. I wrote a few posts here in March about that time my family lived through and today, four months later, I am acknowledging her birthday.
My husband and I are taking the boys to visit their mom today. I told them I would pick up flowers to bring for all of us and the eldest replied, “I don’t want to take flowers that die.”
I stood in thought for a moment and then I retorted with, “How about we buy a flowering plant and take a little gardening tool with us and plant something that keeps blooming and coming back every year?”
The boys were elated and then the younger one added, “We would love that, let’s make sure they are pink, you know how Mom loved pink.”
A tiny gesture can fill a big hole.