There is this girl. We went to high school together, but we didn't really talk much. She then became a waitress at a restaurant Jay and I would frequent. While I was pregnant with Ethan, she became pregnant with her son, so we bonded over pregnancies and newborns whenever we would run into each other.
Then we lost touch again. And like most reconnections, we found each other on Facebook and she inquired about what church I went to. From there, she started attending the church, too, and we see each other weekly.
Just this past week, someone VERY near and dear to her passed away. To say she is devastated is an understatement. I bought a sympathy card for her, but I am at a total loss as far as what to write in it.
It's a nearly a year and a half since my sister's incident, and I still feel as though it were yesterday. Sure the emotions aren't quite as raw and fresh, but not a day goes by that I don't think about that day in one way or another. I anticipate this will be a lifelong thing.
Everyone grieves differently, and there is no right way to do it. There is also no way to control how you grieve. It's however your heart wants you to feel, and you have little to no control over it. It is what it is.
My first thought to write in the card was, "Know your loved one is free of pain and illness now" ...or something along those lines. I mean, isn't that pretty much what you say when someone passes? Or even, "Your loved one is in a better place now". It's just a given. That is what you write. That is what you say.
It's difficult to approach someone who is grieving, because you WANT to say just the right thing. You want to comfort them. You want to let them know you love them and are there for them. Your heart is in the right spot.
The thing is, though, when it comes to words, you have to be so careful.
If I say to her "She is in a better place", while this may be true, in a sense, in HER heart, she is NOT in a better place. The best place is right here, on this Earth. To see, feel, and love. To talk to and share life's burdens with. THAT is the best place for her.
The whole, "Her body is free of pain and illness now," ...okay, yeah, nice sentiment, but again. I bet what is going through my friends mind right now isn't that her loved one is free of pain and illness. Her heart is filled with the question of "Why did this happen in the first place?"
Now I know I didn't lose my sister. She is alive and (thankfully) very well. But in a sense, I did lose her. She is here physically, but she has changed. Every day she shows signs of improvement, but I could literally feel the fire inside me when people would say what were intended to be words of comfort, but it wasn't what I wanted to hear. "This happened for a reason." WHAT reason? WHAT did my sister do to deserve this? "God has a plan for her." Yeah? Well his plan SUCKS. She was doing amazing before this nightmare. "Thank God she lived. She beat the odds." I know, I know. It is a miracle that she lived, and trust me, I thank God every day that she beat the odds. But the fact of the matter is: the sister I knew before is not the sister I have now, and I will forever grieve that loss. I feel physical pain when I think of the "old" sister. I constantly go back to the days prior to her incident and I yearn for those days. I miss them more than I have ever missed anything in this world.
Bottom line, I suppose, is that when loss occurs, there are no right words. There is no sympathy card in the world that will sum it up. There is no action that will be just right, because the only action the person experiencing the loss wants is for their loved one to return.
Life is so hard. Thank God there are people to lean on, because aside from never being able to find the right words, having the tremendous support system makes all the difference in the world.