My oldest friend of 37 years lost her son last Thursday. It's taken me this long to even be able to talk about it but writing is a release, so I'm hoping it helps. I wish it would help her more than it helps me but I know that's not going to be the case.
We went to junior high and high school together, went to college then both got married and after that we lost touch for a while. It wasn't until 3-4 years ago that we reconnected and I'm really sorry that a lot of time went by without us being in touch. I like to think we've made up for lost time.
I didn't get to watch her children grow up. She didn't get to watch mine but you know what? I feel like I could be a surrogate since she and I go so far back and are such soul sisters. I didn't really know her son very well but I know that she was a great mom and that she loved her kids as much as I love mine.
She called me Thursday morning and left a message stating what had happened. I had to listen to that message 4 or 5 times to understand what had happened and then I had to think about it for a while before calling her back. I regret that now. I should have called her back immediately but I didn't know how to handle her grief - or mine for that matter.
When I finally did call her back, she told me what happened and I was dumbstruck. I just couldn't believe that it had happened. I didn't have any of the right words to say (if there are any) and I felt like a total shit for not rushing to her house right away. I made sure she had family or friends present then I did my best to clear out my calendar so I could get to her. I didn't arrive until about 5 in the afternoon but her house was full of family and friends so I felt a little bit better about not being there.
I stayed with her until late at night and didn't leave until I had watched her swallow a pill that would help her sleep. I wanted to spend the night and sleep right next to her but her mom was there and I guess that wouldn't have been appropriate. The next 2.5 days I was out of pocket. I figured she'd have a house full of people anyway so it wasn't like I was deserting her.
Today is the memorial service for her son. The whole day I've had a feeling of dread. In one way it's a little bit good to finally have the service and begin healing, in another way I don't want her to have to say an official goodbye to him. If I'm this confused I can only imagine what she's feeling. It's almost too painful to try to imagine.
The thing that is the worst for me is that I am completely, totally helpless to help her. I can't make her feel any better. I can't make him come back. I can't do anything but cringe and cry and pray for healing. I can't really speak because the only words that come out of my mouth are stupid, ineffective ones. She told me that she got her son's name tattoed onto her ankle and I responded with the most stupid reply ever known to man...I said 'it hurts, doesn't it?' Uh, DUH! Do ya think? It hurts in so many ways! See, I told you stupid words fall out of my mouth. Maybe the best thing for me to do is just shut up. I can sit by her and hold her hand and hug her and just shut up.