The world around me has been filled with a lot of tragedies of late, and it’s becoming a struggle figuring out how to process all of them. There’s the obvious shock and grieving that happens in these circumstances, but there’s also the learning, the teaching and the love that must follow them.
It’s about finding the proper words to comfort the families that have experienced the loss. It’s helping your kids navigate their feelings of not really understanding and helping them figure out what comes next. It’s learning how to say goodbye and trying not to forget. It’s allowing yourself to be sad and broken. It’s figuring out how to move forward without these people in your life. It’s all of these and so much more.
This weekend, I lost a friend in a tragic car accident. 3 young children lost their mother. One of my good friends lost her son in a another tragic accident. My son’s best friend, lost his brother. The loss of these two amazing people will cause ripples of grief that will run far and wide, leaving all of us wishing we could go back and spend more time with them. That we would all get another moment to tell them how much we cared about them, and that we’d ensure that they really, really knew that. We are all asking the questions and wondering why? Why them? Why did this happen? Why is this happening? How is this fair? But we’re asking questions that will never have an answer, and yet, we will be stuck asking them for quite awhile.
We are constantly surrounded by loss and it becomes this thing that we get used to. It becomes a part of the circle of life and we all just keep moving on, in spite of it. We don’t recognize how important these relationships and circumstances are until they’re completely flipped upside down or are forever taken away. It’s sad…sad that we don’t take them to honour them until we no longer have the option.
But what about other kinds of loss and grieving, how do we work through them and live in the here & now?
Today, I had another friend go to a hospital and take a baby away from a Mother that just doesn’t have the ability to parent. She has lost all of her babies, but she is still a Mother that has suffered a deep loss. My friend is grieving for a Mom that will never know the joy of being a parent, while celebrating the gift of life. She loves this baby and this Mama, and it’s a pain that not many of us will ever be able to comprehend.
I have a family member that is deeply hurt and broken, and I don’t know how to help her. I don’t know how to help her heal and either move on or come home or whatever else that would bring her happiness. She’s also suffered a huge loss and has been grieving for a very long time. How can you help repair grief that runs so deep?
I have another friend that has walked away from her family because it was toxic and just not a good situation to be a part of, and she is still grieving years later. She chose to walk away, but she still longs for something that was or should’ve been. It’s much healthier and safer for her this way, but it still really hurts.
I have children that cry daily, or weekly for years and years as they grieve the family that they know they will never return to. These people are alive but are just out of reach and it hurts so badly. In their grief, they are also dealing with the guilt of being happy in their new lives as they don’t want to dishonour where they came from. It’s a horrible and awful thing to have to watch, and I can’t even pretend to know the best way to help them through it.
These situations aren’t usually how we think about grief but they affect us just as deeply and help shape the life we are trying to live right now. We have to acknowledge these moments and take the time to navigate them. These people need us right now.
I think that as we spend this Thanksgiving weekend with our friends and family that we take a minute to remind ourselves of how precious life really is. Do not wait until someone dies before you think to tell them how important they are to you. Don’t wait until the relationship is completely destroyed to show them some compassion. Don’t wait until someone walks right out of your life before you take the time to try and repair it. Don’t look at a situation and assume you know everything and judge someone so harshly that you can’t ever go back.
Use this time RIGHT NOW to honour each other.
If you can fix it, fix it.
If you can’t, find a way to help everyone get healthy closure so you can all move on in peace.
If you can lend a helping hand to get someone back on their feet, lift them up.
If you need to forgive someone, do it.
If you need to walk away from someone or something, walk away without leave a damaging trail.
If you haven’t told your most favourite people how much you love them, tell them.
If you don’t understand someone’s choices, that’s okay. You can still be there for when they need you.
If you need to just stand by someone and be present so they feel safe, do that.
If you need to grieve, allow yourself to do exactly that.
If you see a Mom really struggling, don’t judge her. Love her, help her, lead her or walk away.
Our lives would not be the same without our people, take the time to appreciate them for all they bring into your world, even if it’s only to teach you a lesson.
I am so thankful for many things in my life right now, some of them are good and some of them are not so good, but they’ve all become a part of my story. Thankfully, I have the ability to rejoice with the good and repair the not so good. That is what I’m thankful for today – that I’m alive to make these choices.
Choose well friends, tomorrow is NEVER promised.
Rest well Steff and Luke, you will be deeply missed and never forgotten. xoxox