Anyone who knows me (personally or via this blog) should know the importance friendship plays in my life. It’s been a weird year so far. I guess it started even before 2012 with deaths. Friends from high school lost mothers, fathers, father in laws…then A lost her grandmother and today Ace lost his mom. Even just last night MB asked me to pray for her grandmother who was not doing well. I wondered out loud, “Why is heaven gathering so many angels?”
I never really know what to do or say in times of loss. I just offer myself as a listening ear or comforting shoulder but other than that I am completely tongue tied. I guess I have not really lost anyone I was extremely close to before. Not really. Last night I was talking to A and we were talking about relationships. Something we do but not in depth oddly enough. However last night it felt right to dive a bit deeper than normal. I guess I get the feeling that the deep stuff makes her uncomfortable but I think she knows for most of our other friendships that’s kind of the role I take up. I wear the hat of the nurturer. The thing I guess I realized was that when someone is going through loss and grief (of a person) everyone around them assumes that role. Everyone becomes so nurturing that all you really want is for someone to be normal. At least that’s what I have been told.
I remember when my best friend Jewels lost her dad. It was my first encounter with losing someone that I actually knew and was around with any real frequency. It was hard because I had to watch my friend hurt in a way that no one should ever hurt…and I could not do anything to help. I couldn’t say anything or hug her enough to give her any comfort about it. All I could do was listen when she was ready to talk. I guess I never really forgot that because whenever someone in my life passes I remember her. I remember being at her house with a million family members and friends, I remember most of all her mom. And something inside of me feels overwhelming helpless and small. I know better, cognitively, than to believe that being there is no small potatoes. That offering comfort and warmth is something people actually need, but it never feels that way. Recently Jewels said that she read somewhere about how when people go through a trauma of some sort they developmentally stop there. I suppose the only trauma for me was my accident but there was no loss suffered…and really I see it as more of a birthday than anything arresting. I feel like I grew up light years after that day.
I suppose outside of the hurt and the sadness you feel watching your friends go through something so difficult as losing a family member, it is always humbling to me. It is a reminder of how unpredictable life can be and always makes me wonder what I would do or want in those times. And while family is wonderful of course, I think I would just want my friends to be my friends. Just because they know me best and most intimately. So that’s the approach I take to it. I know better than to call A more than once to ask her if she is okay, if I ask just once and mean it she will answer truthfully…and anything deeper will come at her own initiation. Just like I know if I just sit and wait and listen Jewels will spill everything she’s thinking and feeling. I know them. And in the same way, they know me. And so we get by together.