Do you shy away from grief? Would you cross the road rather than comfort someone who has lost a loved one? Do you wonder what to say? Does seeing someone mourn make you uncomfortable?
I do agree that it is very hard to watch someone hurting. Since young Daniel died I have seen up close the pain of a mother who has lost a child. I have watched her mourn on a few occasions, as the loss of Daniel spills over. However mostly I have watched her dig deep, put her grief to one side, and continue to support her children through this life changing event. Her strength has been extraordinary.
I am not the only one who is there for my friend. There are others around her and her family, doing their helpless best to comfort and support them. We muddle along doing what little we can, but almost daily we feel helpless.
As those of you who read my blog regularly know, I was dreading last Friday night. It was a big night in our local GAA club in memory of Daniel. It was the final of the Rebel óg under 12 league. I was not looking forward to watching boys like Daniel running around, playing the game he loved. Boys of twelve. The age Dan was when he was told he had leukemia. The age he was when he played his last game.
However the night was fantastic. People came to the pitch in droves. The local pipe band marched the boys onto the pitch, and there was a wonderful air of occasion. Sadly our team, who had luckily made the final, lost, but only by a few points.
As we left the sidelines and entered the pitch for the presentation I looked around. There were quite literally hundreds of people milling around. As Daniels parents stood together the crowd gathered in a circle around them. It struck me how many who were not actually family or close friends had turned up. So many who had come to the club to show this family, by their presence, that they had not forgotten Daniel, and to show their support. As they gathered around them last night it was as if they collectively were reaching out and carrying Dans family, helping them through.
Daniels mom has often said to me, that these occasions remembering Daniel are not easy, but that it would be harder if these days stopped, and Daniel was forgotten. Today as I remember Friday night I am so pleased. I know my friend will be delighted at how well it all went, how lovely it was to remember Daniel in a way he himself would have loved, and to have been supported by so many.
In our lives we often shy away from awkward situations. When a bereavement happens many do not know what to do. What should they say? As time goes by they wonder should they speak of the loved one who died, or is that just upsetting the family? There are not many families who have the level of support Daniels family do. Others have lost children, and are hurting desperately. For them there are no memorial events, no occasions for them to know that others know they are in pain, and that their loved one is not forgotten.
I have learned many lessons on grief this year and one of them is, that remembering someones loved one is so important, and acknowledging their loss equally so. We do not need to do it in our hundreds, but we do need to be do it. To take the time to reach out to those who are mourning, and to let them know that we have not forgotten, that we do still care, and we know they still hurt.
Do not be afraid of grief. Your words or deeds can make a really big difference to someone who is already hurting so much.
photo credit: katerha via photopin cc