Why is everyone afraid to talk about this subject like I am? I have challenged myself to face things that make me uncomfortable and explore it further in an effort to make peace with my uneasiness.
I attended the funeral of my friend's mother this week. She was only 51. Too young. Too beautiful. Too needed. One can never make sense of this kind of loss but try to get beyond the initial shock and pain and somehow learn to get on with life in some way. You never get on with life, you just learn to deal with the loss the best you can.
I looked into a man's eyes today that installed a window in our house. He was the nicest man. As he was leaving, he wished me a Merry Christmas. I returned the sentiment and as he was turning away to leave, he muffled "I sure hope next year is better than this one." I don't think he expected me to inquire but I did. I always do. "Why, did you not have a good year?", I asked. He went on to tell me he had lost his wife, his son, his father, his cat and his dog all in the last two years. I gasped. This man needed to talk. I needed to listen. As we stood in the doorway, I learned this man had just recently buried his son who was only 32 years of age. The grief this man was enduring must be over the top. His doctor encouraged him to take some pills to help him cope. I was appalled. Doctors are too quick to want to prescribe a pill for everything these days- even grief. Grief needs to be felt, to be heard and to be healed. It's all a process. I participated in part of his process today. I was glad. He sighed and started to cry on my doorstep. I squeezed his hand and he thanked me for listening. I thanked him for sharing. He went on his way.
Christmas may be a happy time for kids and adults alike but it is painful for people who are missing their loved ones. Instead of thinking of ourselves all the time, be aware that we may be passing someone who is suffering in the mall or on the street. We may be passing someone who is feeling lonely or lost. Pay attention and be compassionate. Always. Not just at Christmas time.