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Sunday, January 18, 2015

No, I Don't know How She Feels

It was deja vu. I walked into the living room crowded with family and friends. People talked in hushed reverent whispers anticipating the worst, yet praying for a miracle. My friend fell into my arms in silent sobs. All I could do was hold her. Just one short year ago, I found myself in similar circumstances with my Mother. I understand the feeling of your body going through the motions and functioning on auto pilot. I understand the feeling of thinking... "I can't do this... I'm not strong enough to do this." That being said, I was painfully aware that I did not "know" what she was going through. How could I possibly know the devastation of watching my husband fade away before my eyes? How could I possibly know the pain and the heartbreak that lay ahead?  I didn't know and I can't possibly imagine. The next few months will be difficult beyond imagination for her and the family and regardless of how I desperately want to fix what is broken, all I can do is hold her up in prayer, stand beside her and be a shoulder she can lean on. My experience with losing loved one is apples to oranges to her experience. What she doesn't need is me comparing the two as if they are the same, her experience is unique to her as mine is to me. Comparing the two as if they are the same would only be minamilizing her pain and her experience. I can't do that. We share an experience that has common characteristics, yet are vastly different on most levels. What she needs from me isn't the common phrase "I know how you feel." What she needs is for me to simply listen when she needs to talk, encourage her when she feels she can't go on and allow her feelings to be her own, because quite simply, I don't know how she feels and not pretending to know everything can be one of the things that comforts her the most. Instead, I will simply be there, not knowing it all but willing to share her pain. Because that's what friends do.

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