If this is your first visit to Endless Hope, you may want to read Our Story first…either way…welcome to the journey as there is endless hope ❤
This past year has gone so very quickly! I’ve not written for almost a year…have had it in my mind all along..thinking oh man its been a month, 6 mos, almost a year…i have to write before it is a full year!!!
So here goes, starting with few lines typed through my phone….just gotta start somewhere. How can a person avoid it any longer, especially when you’re sitting in your friend’s living room that she’s converted into what she calls the Hope Room….sipping tea 🍵 out of a cup that says Hope on the front….then as you drink reveals more words inside that pierce your heart…”The Best Is Yet To Be”…
So many things on my mind and memory, and on little stashed notes and to do lists…things I’ve not wanted to forget to write about that relate to my grief process. And yet so many great things that have happened this year that certainly can’t go without mention…as life is certainly not all grief…so many wonderful blessings and things to be grateful for…from the marriage of our wonderful son and his amazing bride, to excitement of first job for our daughter and new role at work for me, to beautiful times with my sweet husband, like him taking me to a marriage conference. So many great times and much to be thankful for and to celebrate.
Nov 11/15 – As I awoke this Remembrance Day, I found myself awash with the same thoughts that swirled through my mind the evening before, and had stayed with me until my mind had finally given way to sleep. Last night I attended an “exclusive”, classy event, in a super hip location…definitely a rose amongst thorns spot, downtown eastside Vancouver. A large group was in attendance as we honoured and celebrated a dynamic, inspiring man…and before I left, the party evolved with some great dance moves on the floor by some pretty cool cats. Earlier there had been heartwarming speeches by close friends and family that ensured there wasn’t a dry eye in the house…as you see, the man of the evening, the guest of honour, was with us…but only in spirit last night. A dedicated young husband and father, taken from us all much too soon, was being fondly remembered and celebrated, and yet dearly missed. Laughter and a feeling of pride in his accomplishments washed over the crowd as hundreds of photos and video clips looped on the big screens during the mix and mingle event…mixed with intermittent tears at the realization and overwhelm of the loss of a fun-loving, true gentleman.
People say the weirdest things sometimes to others during grief: “It was their time”; “Oh don’t cry, it’s supposed to be a celebration of life”…and other things I’m sure you could list off as having annoyed you too! I loved how this man’s twin sister boldly clarified in her speech that no it WASN’T his time…that he could have had so much more life ahead of him. I thought to myself, good for you! Crush those stupid clichés before someone unwittingly says it out loud to you! People don’t mean to be insensitive, but it’s really hard to know what each other really need to hear in these tough moments, and often others just aren’t able to be in tune.
Any phrase that starts with “well at least they…” is definitely in danger of sounding insensitive. Even if it’s a 97 year old grandma, to say at least they lived a long life, is not often a help to a family member that was really close and enjoying the ongoing positive input of that person in their life…loss is still loss…no matter the age. The older I get, the more I realize how my perception of “old” changes. My parents seemed “old” of course when I was a kid, but looking back they were only mid-thirties…and now I would love to rewind a bit and be that age. And really, I feel no different in my head than when I was 16, just like some gals I met in their 90’s that have been buddies since teens and still giggle and carry on and say they are the same goofy girls in their minds, nothing’s changed.
When tragedy strikes it’s more dangerous than ever to say weird little clichés, and I’m sure we all wriggle uncomfortably, not knowing what to say or how to help. Just my opinion, but I think the “well at least they…” and “it was their time” comments should be stifled and left for just the immediate family’s utterance, should they feel it at the moment. It just seems to me that too often these comments come out a bit flippantly in an effort to brighten the situation or find a silver lining maybe, by someone who is obviously not too immensely crushed by it all.
People don’t say these things, typically, the younger a person is…it’s not said of infants or children, and luckily I don’t think anyone said the like to me about our 15 year old son (lucky for them – I have a nasty dropkick always ready on standby). I know that everyone ends up having an amount of time that was the sum total of their life lived, and in hind sight their death was the end of “their time” here….but please, let’s not rub that in at the moment of loss, not helpful.
Everyone is different as to what equals comfort in those hard times, and what words may land well on me may not on you, but that is the point…we all grieve differently and that’s ok, so anytime we can clue each other in on what we need during our grief is probably a wise thing. For me the beautiful moments and most touching words were the phone calls or in person visits where the friend had little to say, and what they did say was not a cliché, but rather heartfelt emotion. Often it was “I don’t know what to say, I’m just so sorry”, followed by another hug and then their tears mixing with mine. Precious friends were willing to just sit with me, force feed me lovingly, ride the waves of emotions that came and went, and didn’t seem compelled to have to have all the answers or talk for the sake of hearing their own voice. There were compassionate souls that just did practical things, like clean the bathroom, and stick around to ensure we literally stayed alive in those early weeks that were extremely dark, when I felt so lost and it all seemed completely surreal.
Some will need to hear you say “You will make it, things will be ok in time”, others will cringe when they hear “it’s gonna be ok”. I’m not sure if it is the closeness or just being really in tune with people that will help you know what to say & not say, but maybe just being there and finding out where they are at is the best starting point, then lovingly and carefully weighing any words that must be said.
For me it continues to be most meaningful to know that others are affected by my loss, that my son is not forgotten, and that his life and loss of life impacts people that cared about him and us. To not be alone in grief is a thing of beauty to me, and to see the emotion of others joined with my own, even 4 years later, is precious to my mother’s heart. I don’t know how or why that works, but it does.
Let us take the pain of our past, the compassion for others, and the glimpse of better things coming in the future, and then take the time & effort to instil a sense of hope in others…not with plastic clichés, but with genuine shared emotion and care.
I was reminded tonight by my friend with the Hope teacups, that we all seem to have been placed where we are for a purpose, with a circle of people around us that only we can impact…let it be with endless Hope.
With hope re-focused,