Since the death of my friend some days ago, I've learned something important.
See, I was finding it odd and sad that after over 200 people read my post about losing her, only 6 left their condolences and just two online friends sent me an email sharing their concern.
I don't know. It felt like so few, especially since I don't really even know 5 of you (but I appreciate you!). Maybe I didn't say clearly enough how devastated I was. I'm not always good at sharing how I really feel about things, though I'm trying to become more transparent. But this time I needed to know people cared that I was hurting over the loss of my friend-- and that my world has changed forever. I can never write to her again or hear from her. She is gone and though I have other friends, no one else is her.
Yet here's what I'm thinking, too. Maybe I am reaping what I have sown, for I want to say that I leave bereavement comments at blog posts at least three-fourths of the time (even at blogs I only stumble upon that first time), but maybe it's closer to a bit more than half the time. It feels like more, but I'm trying to be honest with myself. In fact, I'll apologize to you now if you've written a bereavement post which I read, yet did not comment upon. I mean it--I'm sorry.
But this is what I know for certain--from now on, 100% of the time, I will leave a note when I read any post where someone has lost a relative, a friend or a pet. 100% of the time. You have that in writing.
And here is a secret I will tell you. If you are worried about not knowing what to say, well, stop worrying. Because it doesn't even matter what you say. All I wanted to hear? I just wanted to hear, "I'm so sorry you lost your friend." Or, "I'll be praying you get through this." Or, "I'm sorry you are hurting right now."
That's all. I just wanted to know that people cared that I was aching inside. I kept checking my blog and my email because I needed to hear those simple words over and over and over. I needed the comfort which comes from people taking one or two minutes to show me my feelings matter. That I matter.
And for those of you who took that time, I am more grateful than you will ever, ever know. Your simple words were like apples of gold in pitchers of silver and they were like a balm upon my wounded heart.
"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians 13:13