Staying Afloat in a Leaky Boat

January 25, 2017 at 7:14 pm 4 comments



If you know anyone who has lost a loved one in the past six months, or even the past year, please do this: Write them a note. Let them know you are thinking of them and praying for their peace of mind. Or call, even if you have to leave a message. Or email or text, anything to gently reach out as the weeks slide by. You see, when the hubbub surrounding a major loss subsides, the void looms even larger and sometimes feels unfillable.

As I passed the one-month marker for my own personal crisis, a feeling of desolation crept back in, crowding out any sense of peace. It was as if the grieving process had started all over again. With prayer and regular physical activity, the patient ear of my treasured sister-in-law, and the promise of a visit from a childhood friend, the indescribable yearning—knowable only to those who have shared it—slowly made way for eruptive moments of hopefulness.

The next few days brought answers to my unspoken pleas—follow-up calls from thoughtful friends and relatives, a few late cards. Just the right doses of attention and sympathy at just the right moments of aching need. One well-timed note from my sometimes errant third grade pan pal back in Minnesota, so poignant in its simplicity, brought immediate relief to my anguish-numbed soul:

            January 11, 2017

            Dear Mrs. K,   

            I am sorry I have not written to you. I hope you still want to be my pen pal.                                                  I am sorry about your husband. But you and me both know he is happy in heaven. You will see him again in heaven. I wish I could be with you but I know how you feel.

            One more thing, merry Christmas and happy new year.

            Love Naomi

            (Flip side of note paper: be happy the Lord is with you [smiley face])

So the answer to the question, should I check in again a few weeks or months later? is a resounding yes! Email, text, snail mail note, phone call. Any form of contact. These can be the mourner’s lifeline to a world that now seems surreal and frightening. If you’re thinking of them, let them know. And if you live close by, set a firm date to meet for coffee.

You never know. God may just be using you to help another through the quicksand of a particularly rough day, to be His angel on earth. And it could make the difference between your friend feeling lost or feeling loved.




Entry filed under: Advice For Life, Uncategorized.

Goodbye, Sweet Prince The Heart Remembers

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Craig  |  January 25, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    Good Afternoon Sue Anne,
    Another very nice article. I am glad you wrote it to remind us to think about what others are going thru. People shouldn’t be afraid to reach out for help. But remember, that some of us sometimes don’t know exactly what to do, but this sure helps with that.

  • 2. kirkhams  |  January 26, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    In writing this, my conscience stung a bit, thinking of all the opportunities for reaching out that I have let slip by in the past. Personal experience is an excellent teacher.

  • 3. Keith  |  January 26, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Please remember that the easily and flippantly used term “closure” is a myth. When someone is a huge part of our life and identity there is no closure but there can be a sense of “coming to terms” with our loss. I will email you a pdf of an article that explains this far better than I ever could. Love you and your family!

  • 4. Mary  |  January 27, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    Hi SueAnne – I think of you often but have been remiss in telling you so. I sent a note on messenger but I’m not sure if you check that. I hope you have been able to be with family and friends but I would imagine even surrounded by people there is an ache of loneliness. I wish there was something profound I could share about the grieving process but there are no words. Just know I send hugs and prayers. Thanks for reaching out. Keep in touch. Mary


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