Grief is such an odd word. It’s breathy but also infinitely weightier than anything else, like serendipity or free.
Grief has been a huge theme for me this week. One of my best friends had a family member die this week. He was in his thirties. He had two children under eight and a beautiful wife and six siblings and their kids. Multiple people on the first page of his online guest book for the obituary described him as “one of the good guys.” I didn’t know him, but I knew his wife from teaching their kids in the summers, and she is actually the best woman ever. Think of the kindest, most gracious, positive, and funny woman you know and multiply it by ten. That would be her.
He’s been sick for over two years now, so this wasn’t unexpected, but it was devastating nonetheless. Normally, I would just pay my respects and provide a listening ear, but this has been a different experience. I have every single class with this friend and was with her both the day before and after she found out.
We had a small group discussion for spirituality and religion requirements together. It met the day after he’d died. Since we had been learning and talking about the dying process in depth, she announced to the class that he’d passed. I already knew, but watching and listening to her tell excruciating details about his illness, passing, and life left behind was so raw. Every single person in the class cried. She kept repeating, “I just don’t get it.” She sobbed, yelling and sputtering and slamming her fists, until she was gasping for air. Our group leader gave me the nod, some sort of taciturn agreement we had apparently just made, and I walked her outside where she collected herself. Holding her up as her eyes flooded and her nose ran and her body, which seemed so small, shook to help her get a breath in was one of the most heartbreaking experiences I have ever endured.
This entire week has been tough. It’s difficult to see her grieve but, more selfishly, I’m also dreading the funeral on Saturday. Obviously, there are no words to sum up some kinds of heartbreak. Maybe only the good die young. So, if I’m not myself for a little while, I apologize. Please give me time to help my friend and be there for her.
In a sense, it was also beautiful. That kind of emotional nakedness and catharsis is something I don’t know I’ve ever been through.
Thoughts and prayers are going out to her and her family. Please do the same if you want.
Thankfully, though, my own immediate family is healthy, the sun is still rising, and the holidays are coming up. Those are all things be grateful for.