Thursday, June 5, 2008

When others move on

I had a long conversation today with a friend who recently lost her mother to cancer. I called to see how she was doing, not knowing what to expect, or even if I would reach her. Part of me didn't want to call - what if she was having a really good day and bringing up her mom would bring her sadness? What if I would say the wrong thing? Yet I knew from my own experience that it is far better to take the risk and reach out than it is to play it safe. We need others to acknowledge our losses, even months or years down the road. As she talked, I could tell that her mom is on her mind frequently, and that she has been doing everything she can to process through all of the changes that have taken place in her life over the past few years. She mentioned feeling alone, not knowing others her age who have weathered similar situations. She said sometimes she wishes a friend of her mom's would call just to say they were thinking of her mom that day too. In the final months of her mom's illness, countless friends were in and out, stopping by to visit or asking how they could help. While that was a wonderful support, it needed to continue after her mom's death. It needs to continue even today. Yes, life goes on. Yes, the pain is far less for most everyone besides my friend and her immediate family. Yes, it has slowly become easier - but it is still hard. And it probably always will be hard. She wasn't complaining as she shared these things with me; she was very aware of the things God has been doing and continues to do in her life. She is thankful for many things that have happened. But at the same time she still needs support and encouragement. I post this story even though it is not directly about miscarriage to illustrate the point that we must consciously choose to reach out again and again to those who have lost loved ones. Their pain is real, whether or not we acknowledge it or give them space to be real. We cannot fix the pain or remove it entirely, but by simply remembering and validating feelings, we can be the hands, feet, and ears of Jesus as He heals their hearts day by day.

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