Thursday, February 26, 2009

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


Rita said...

My daughter has been close to an uncle after my father died and her dad and I divorced. For the last 20 years he has been so special. We went to the hospital to visit and he was in emergency and died within half an hour. Not one of her 7 coworkers gave her a card, asked how she was doing. Nothing. They just wanted to make sure they would not have to cover any of her time. She covers for them and asks how they are doing. What is wrong in this world? I guess selfishness - self focus.

I'm so sorry for your loss and will pray to God to give you strength during this time.

Debra said...

Rita--thank-you so much. And I'm so sorry about the loss of your relative, especially for the pain your daughter felt, pain which was made worse by the thoughtlessness of her co-workers. This world is becoming colder (as the Bible said it would) but maybe we can still make a difference by reminding people how important it is to show concern for others. That's my prayer, anyway. Thanks again for your condolences... Debra

Donetta said...

Debra, if my nephew follows through with suicide this will be the third one with all being close in a inner circle. Two best friends( one of 15 years and another of 10 years) of many years ago and now possibly him. All three of my parents and My Mr's grandma (very close to me) and a friend of 17 years all passed within 5 years.
Loss is a painful thing and I think that a numbness that goes along with a wound so deep ...too deep for most to touch for they touch it alone.
Perusing blogs to learn how to be human...well learning from open honest hearts is safe...Many do not know how to speak for then the safety behind the Vail is remove. If they felt...well if they felt it would just be to difficult. It is easier to touch the thing and be silent...

We comfort those with the comfort we have been comforted with.
If we have known no comfort how can we afford it to others.
However,I think that so few offer what they have been given. For you and I both know that many more than a few have known a balm. Even so perhaps they are empty wishing for the same thing?

My son interrupted me four times sorry if this is a bit broken up. :)

Tracy said...

{{Hugs}} are dear soul.

Dolores said...

Dear Debra, I am so sorry for your loss. I didn't realize how much her death had affected you. I reread the post about her and she sure does sound like a very amazing person. Dolores

Sheila said...

Debra: Just stumbled upon your web site ! Stumbled with joy too !
And, listen....what you're doing is a direct gift, that God wants you to use !!!
I lost my Dad 1972 my Mom 2003 then my beloved husband/best-friend 2007 & I'd never shared my sorrow with anyone, until 9 months after my hubby/Gary passed away. I'd been told my our Doctors that I wouldn't last 6 mos to a year...
Well, its been 22 mos, and I'm still here..........
So about January 08, I prayed and prayed and prayed, telling God that if I was still going to be stuck down here, that I would do anything, absolutely anything for Him. And it started.
As of beginning of February, last count I'd sent 3752 e-mail letters around the world, warning of the 5 most current illness's caused through moderate Alcohol consumption to perfectly healthy individuals. Then around 870 letters, sharing my story of loss, grief & dispair !

So, don't stop Debra !!!
You may not hear from most people, like me......from all those letters, I've maybe had 20 good response's on Alcohol, maybe 10 on bereavement. But it doesn't matter! We're not here for applause or !!
We're just here to share with others, help others.......until we get to go home too !

Love & prayers,
God Bless,

Judy said...

I hate death. So glad that someday death will die.

My daughter is training full-time for a new job - which means I've had a three year old and a 1 1/2 year old full-time. And a migraine full-time. I had to arrange for my dad to take an ambulance to the hospital without me, and then arrange for him to move to a nursing home for rehab - thankfully the same one my mom is in.

Tomorrow is my mom's birthday. I looked at birthday cards tonight and just wanted to sob.

There is no card that says, Happy Birthday, Mom! Sorry you are in the death grip of Alzeimher's and cannot even read this!

Really, truly. Death shall die.

Easter is looking REALLY good to me this year.

I'm so sorry about your friend. Good friends are so hard to come by. I'm glad I've come by you!

Dapoppins said...

I missed the post about your lost friend. The first few months with that kid of loss, someone you talked to and shared with all the time, someone you needed, are so terribly hard. I am very sorry I wasn't there to add my prayers of comfort for you...but I will now.

Oh, and this is always what I say, the best thing to help with this kind of sadness, is to hug a child. Hug as many kids as you can. Maybe even give a little tickle.

Kids always make me feel better.

Jammie J. said...

Dearest Debra, I hope you know that I'm so very sorry to you for the loss of your friend.

It is never easy to lose someone you lost. Especially when that someone was (from what you wrote) more than a friend. It sounded like she also your mentor. Someone who encouraged you, by her example and the time she spent with you, to be your unique self. That you are good enough, just as you are, to be a blessing to someone everyday.

When you lose someone like that, it smarts and stings and hurts. Time doesn't make it better, I don't think anything does, really. And grief is like waves if you're swimming in the ocean. Sometimes they'll hit you hard and take your breath away, other times you'll float and bob along and think, "Hey, this isn't so bad, this'll be OK..." and then you'll reach for the phone to call her and that wave will hit you again and you'll wish you'd called or written her more. You'll grieve again then.

So just know that when that happens, it's normal.

All of that to say, you've been a blog friend to me for a long, long time now and this week you've been on my mind. I wanted to give some thought and prayer to what I wrote you... I hope this touches you somehow, some way today.


oma aka meme said...

I do not know why we can not stop more often in this world and say to folks-- ""I care--"""-that is all we really need to say--

I send you soft hugs and praying for your hurting heart-
hugs from Meme

Anonymous said...

Debra, my apologies for not leaving a note.

After my sister-in-law passed away very recently I haven't been spending as much time reading blogs and I must admit that I missed that post.

I really did appreciate your condolences when Carina passed away and I would hate to think that you felt that others didn't care for you in the same way.

I trust that God will be your comfort in the difficult days ahead.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Oh, Debra, I am sorry I did not post right away to tell you that you were in my thoughts and prayers and I was grieving for you. I meant to come back and do it and there is certainly a lesson there about doing things when we first think of doing them. I am so sorry that you lost your friend. In fact as I write this I feel as if I wrote you something about not really losing her, but I didn't find it after the post in question. But I am so sorry. I've gone through a lot of grieving in the last year and a half and had so much support and comfort from friends and family. I am truly sorry I let you down. I am thinking about you and praying for you as I always do. Your blog is the first one I read everyday. It is a gift to so many people. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

This is catch-up day for reading blogs so my condolences are late, tho sincere. Since childhood I have taken the death of those friends and neighbors who have been kind and an inspiration to me very, very much to heart. I still miss them. Now in my mid-seventies I look back and there have been so many I lose count. I will suffer these losses again since I'm in a retirement village and these things will continue to happen and I will be so saddened again.

Therefore I fully understand your feelings of loss and I am truly sorry.
My hope is in the Resurrection.


Anonymous said...

In my haste, I forgot to extend my good wishes and prayers for better days to all those who have posted regarding the difficult and heartbreaking times they're experiencing.

God bless you all.

kimberly s said...

i confess that i am one of those people who cannot figure out to say at a time like this. i am sorry for your loss--your friend sounded like an amazing woman and someone who brightened the days of everyone around her. i'm sorry that your days are now a little darker, and hope that peace and your own innate happiness will soon return.

Willa said...

I am so sorry for your loss, Debra. Such sad times for you. I have been sick with the flu and sorry I haven't responded earlier.

Pat said...

No excuses, I am sorry I didn't leave a condolence.
Your are right about not knowing what to say..and you are also right about what we say not being important. Just know that I do care, I will do better, and a valuable lesson has come from the passing of your favorite teacher.

Tom and Cindy said...

I am sincerely sorry for your loss. I know the hurt you are experiencing. Reaching for the phone to call, the void of the fun you shared, the family times you had with everyone, the secrets you shared. There is a place in your heart that will never be filled again. I am truly sorry for your loss. May God refresh your spirit and ease your pain.
We will be praying for you, your family and your friends family.

Lora said...


I'm sorry I didn't respond to your post. I was reeling over the news of my cousin's little girl and just didn't have anything left in me.

Please know that I care....I am such a faithful follower of your blog and find so much inspiration in everything you write.

But you're still helps to have some kind of tangilble acknowledgement that others know...and care.

That said - thank you for your kind words regarding Bridgette.

I'm truly am sorry for your loss.

I'm sure you were as much a bessing to your former teacher as she was to you.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I stumbled on your blog while googling for something else! I know this is a very old post but I am sorry both for the loss of your friend and that few of your readers responded. I'm sure you still miss her even though it's been 5 years.

I had a somewhat similar experience after my great-aunt died 4 years ago, at age 99. Although her death certainly wasn't unexpected, it was still a shock to me. She was the last of her generation; the youngest of my grandmother's sisters. Lovely and charming always, with a warmth that drew others to her. She died on a Saturday and the next day I went to church. When I told my Sunday School leader about my great-aunt's death, she smiled. Actually smiled! "How wonderful that she is now in heaven and no longer suffering," she said. I was so shocked that the moment passed before I could respond (probably a good thing since my reply would definitely not have been Christ-like).

While it was indeed wonderful that my great-aunt was in heaven, I already missed her here on earth. Just hearing her voice could make me feel better. I was in the habit of telephoning her on Sunday nights. Somehow it gave me the courage to face Monday morning at a difficult job. She often said she was "tickled pink" to hear from me. The last few years of her life, a series of mini-strokes took her away, leaving her body behind. She often didn't recognize family members or called us by the wrong names. But we didn't mind because we loved her. And she loved us; three generation of nieces and nephews.

How inappropriate to smile at this news! I would never have done that, not to anyone. I left in tears and went home. No one noticed. I had a brief announcement placed in the "Among our members" column in the church newsletter, where such matters are mentioned. No response at all. A call from one of the pastors would have meant so much. I know, then, how it feels to have no one respond to the loss of someone dear.