Monday, January 07, 2013

Leaning

My friend Allison and I were talking this morning about how to support a friend in need when you can't fight the battle for them. She had forwarded me this devotional-style email that talked about how Aaron and Hur helped Moses hold his hands up when his arms were tiring from holding his staff aloft (Exodus 17:12). And sometimes that's exactly the help we need when things get tough -- someone to just be there to lean on, to prop yourself up when the fight exhausts you.

Many people helped me in so many ways during my own tragedy -- meals left on our doorstep, cards and gifts in the mail, phone calls and emails made and sent on our behalf, arrangements made, things paid for. And they all meant the world. I haven't forgotten a single gesture. And others just showed up. Some flew in from all over the country, some came from across town, others just called or emailed and asked What can I do to help you? 

That is an impossible question for someone in a dire circumstance to answer. And many of the posts, articles and books I've read on helping others cope with grief say not to ask that question. But asking that question is our natural instinct, isn't it? And when you're faced with a heartbroken friend, you're not thinking, Now what did that article say about how to handle this? -- you're just responding to your friend.

In 6 weeks we will have been without Scarlett for a year. That is an anniversary I am terrified of. But it's given me almost a year to heal and learn how to cope, and that year has given me some clarity. So to all of you who didn't know what to do last February, but called, emailed or texted asking if they could help -- thank you. You might not feel like you were there for me, for us, but you were. You showed up.

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