Monday, May 7, 2012

Stumbling Gratitude

I should know better what to do, what to say. I should be clear on what not to say. I should know there is no right thing, no magic thing, nothing that will really help. And yet, I want to say the right thing, the magic thing, the thing that really helps. And I worry about saying the thing that comes out wrong that hurts where it means to help. I want so much to help and feel helpless.

As I stumble through my friend's loss gracelessly, I think back to all the friends who stumbled through with me, all the people who didn't know what to say or do who offered words and hugs and silence for me to fill or not. I think of the people who sent cards and made donations and brought meals, the people who let me talk and cry after, long after, years after, who didn't shy away or change the subject, the ones who still remember his birthday and when he died. It's been almost five years since Henry was born, four and half since he died, and I'm welling with gratitude for the many people in my life who stood in the uncomfortable place of not knowing what to do and simply tried, because there are no right words, no magic things, because nothing really helps, but doing nothing at all surely hurts.


  1. You are so present, kind and caring, I am sure you are doing a great job, no matter how inadequate you may feel.

  2. I'm thinking of our dear friend. It just isn't fair.

  3. This is ringing true for me - over a year later, I am also getting a window into how very hard it was for those around us to support and abide.

  4. Yes, to everything you say here. It is so hard to be there for someone else as they struggle through grief, knowing how little you can do. But the other side of that (and you absolutely nailed it) is how much that little can mean.

    Sending love to you and your friend.