Today was the first time since our loss that I had to face someone in person who was grieving a recent loss. I honestly thought I’d be better prepared now to comfort someone, but as soon as my eyes met hers, all the words I had thought I would say flew out of my mind. The only things I could come up with were “I’m so sorry” and “let me know if there’s anything we can do.” I could feel myself cringing as I said them. I’m so disappointed those were the best words I could manage.
I’ve spent the rest of the day thinking about the people I’ve lost. My grandpas, an aunt, a few friends, a school principal, a neighbor of mine who never came back from war. I keep trying to wrap my mind around what it means for these people to be gone. It hurts and stings because you know you’ll never see them smile or laugh again. Endings are always difficult, especially when you didn’t have a chance to say goodbye.
At some point, the cards stop arriving, the flowers wilt, and the sympathy comes to an end. Grief never stops for a loved one. Like the ocean, memories ebb and flow. Sometimes they roll in just far enough to tickle our toes and bring a smile to our face, and other times they crash into us and knock us off our feet.
So what’s the one thing that you can do for a grieving person to make them feel better?
It’s that simple. We all just want our love ones remembered. We want them to live on beyond our memories. Say their name, share a story, and find ways to honor them.
On this Memorial Day, I remember Kristopher Higdon. The boy across the street who never came home from war. You are not forgotten!