Standing by a friend

When there are no words

 Tomorrow a dear friend will bury her only child, a son.  Jon was 28 when he died in an accident last week. 

 When I got the news of  Jon’s death, my hands immediately went to my face.  I then got a severe headache.

My friend, Mary, just recently underwent her second operation in the past 18 months.  She quit her job.  She had never been sick before.  I’ve been quite concerned about her.  Mary is a very private person, so I don’t know the nature of her illness.  I just know that I wished I could do something to offer her comfort.  Even through her illness, she is a ray of sunshine.  But you can see in her eyes that she is not well.

When I learned that Jon had been killed, it was like a knife went through my heart.  I was numb.  Later, I cried for my friend.

When you lose anyone close, you must, of course move on.  When you lose a child, however, you never totally get over it.  I know.  My own son, my oldest, died in an auto accident 11 years ago.  I never got to say good-bye. 

Hopefully, Mary will allow herself to grieve.  Hopefully, there will be some things I can do to support her in the days after the funeral, when everyone goes back to their routines.  Perhaps Mary will want me to just sit with her in silence.  Or maybe she’ll want to recall her warmest memories of Jon.

I didn’t grieve for my son for five years.  I was busy trying to be strong for everyone else.  I even insisted on identifying the body because even though I come from a family of mostly males, I knew the men couldn’t handle it.   So I did it myself.

I went back to work the next day after the funeral.  I couldn’t stand the quietness of the house.  I had sent my other children to school so that they could be around their friends.

You tread into perilous territory if you delay the grieving process as I did.  Five years after my own son’s death, one night as I was driving home from work, I just burst into tears.  I couldn’t stop crying.  I didn’t know what was wrong with me.  After the crying continued for several days, I went to see my doctor. 

She said, “I have been waiting for this.  It’s taken you all this time to finally start grieving for Raymond.”  ( Raymond was my son’s name.)

I didn’t know it at the time, but the lights went out for me when my son died.  I went through the motions of getting on with my life.  I buried any feelings I had of grief.  I really had myself fooled.

Tomorrow I will attend Jon’s funeral.  Afterwards, I will compile a notebook of prayers and scriptures to give to my friend Mary.  She may read them right away.  She may not.  But one day those prayers and scriptures will sustain her.

August 21, 2006. Friends/Family, Life, Personal. 4 comments.

Executing the deal

I think Alina is right about how to resolve my housing dilemma. I need to go ahead and use this opportunity for my little family to temporarily move in with a guy and his kids. We’ll call this man G. Alina says, in part:

I think you should take it if all in all it is the best option, but do keep it short! Get more money and move out….

(If you don’t know the story behind this move, click here.)

My hotel room is paid up through Tuesday morning. But we’re packing up most of our stuff today and moving it to G’s house. We’ll return to the hotel later today. We’ll stay here until we have to check out. At G’s home, the kids and I will share a bedroom.

G and I talked by phone yesterday. G started off the conversation saying that he needed someone to take care of the kids. I knew that was coming, so I was prepared. I told him that I would handle any childcare duties and that my daughter would devote her time to the baby. G got silent for a minute, but he didn’t say anything.

I knew if I didn’t make my point clear before we moved in, G would be expecting my daughter to cook and clean for his four little boys. I’m certain my daughter will do some things around the house, but I want her to do them when she has the time and the energy, not as a maid. When she was dating G’s son, she used to do a lot of cooking, cleaning and caring for the kids because the house was always a mess. So I think she’s already done more than her fair share of work. We’ll move in for a month or so, save some money, and leave.

Wish us luck. Don’t be surprised if this post becomes one of a continuing saga!

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July 9, 2006. Friends/Family, Life, Personal. 2 comments.