I had an opportunity to communicate with a father that lost his son suddenly through email today. It turns out he and his wife are living through their first year and all the firsts that you have to go through. He made the comment that this first year he feels like they are just living in a fog. He is right, that first year is exactly like you are living in a fog. If I were to be completely honest, even through the second year I felt like I was still living in that fog. Truthfully, there are still times it feels that way and it will be five years December 1st.
Five years... That truly doesn't seem possible. There are days when it feels like forever since I've hugged him, kissed his forehead, or watched him sleep (those crazy sleeping positions of his) and then there are days it feels like that moment that doorbell rang and those Marines were standing at our door in their dress blue uniforms to notify us that Chad was killed in action. It was gut wrenching and a feeling I will never forget. Sadly, there are days it feels just like that all over again and I suspect it will forever be that way and you know, that's okay.
He mentioned that there have been those that state, "be grateful for the time you had with your son". Well, of course they are grateful for every moment they had with their son, but that doesn't mean they can just move on without their son and be whole. They will never be "whole" again. Parents are not supposed to bury their children. That is not the natural way life is supposed to be. Our children are supposed to bury their parents, not the other way around.
You know, I had the sweetest visit with a friend/co-worker yesterday who came to chat with me. I initially thought it was because she was hurting (which she was) over the recent loss of her husband and I was completely prepared to listen and offer support and encouragement and she says, I've thought about you since yesterday. Me? That was unexpected. It wasn't unexpected because she wouldn't think about me or even tell me, but she was the one hurting since recently losing the love of her life and yet she was worried about me. We chatted for a short time and just listened to each other and while my goal was to help her feel better and hopefully encourage her in some little way, she is the one that was lifting me up.
That's what this world is missing (in my opinion). Care and compassion, but more than that, just simply taking a few minutes or just a moment to reach out to someone that could be hurting and letting them know that they care and their loved one they lost still matters. Guess what, we want to remember our loved ones and talk about them. They were a part of us, a huge part, and not asking about them or talking about them doesn't make us miss them less and talking about them or asking about them doesn't make us sad. They continue to matter to us and always will and just because they don't walk this earth anymore doesn't mean they didn't or don't matter or that just because you aren't mentioning them that we aren't thinking of them. Trust me, we are thinking of them constantly and without ceasing.
Consider taking a moment to send a text, email, make a phone call, or send a card to someone you know has lost someone or is just hurting and just let them know you care and that you are thinking of them. You would be shocked how much that will mean to them. Trust me.