Over the past 27 months I have been blessed with friends; friends that have been a part of my life for many years and new friends I have made since losing Grant. There is a quote about friends that I love that says, “Side by side or miles apart, friends like us stay close to the heart.” I’ve found this to be so true, especially when you have been through the deepest of grief. It seems that when tragedy happens we quickly learn the quantity of friends we have and I truly have been abundantly blessed.
I’m going to write about this because it has been on my mind over the past few years…
When we lost Grant the first several months I lived in a fog. It took an honest friend to tell me the mistakes I was making. Did that hurt?… Sure it did. But it wasn’t till later that I realized why she was able to be more honest than others. I believe it is because people who have lost deeply in their own lives recognize things more clearly than those who have been spared tragedy in their lives. I guess I felt the need to write that because if I would have read something like that, somewhere, a quote enveloping that about honest grief I wouldn’t have felt hurt at the time by the honest caring truth. Sometime when we lose someone we have to trust friends that know us better than we know ourselves at the time and we have to be open to embracing what they say. A true friend will allow you to not like them for a few weeks. That’s a friend. My true friends forgave my ornery selfish days. My true friends knew the differences between Kim and grief…because some days I didn’t feel very nice or kind or reciprocating of a good friendship.
It took months for me to recall the friends and family that came and went the days after losing Grant. His wake and funeral are still a fog. The evening of his wake was the first time I had seen Grant. One hour before visitation and my world crashed harder than the day he died. I remember wanting to hide from everyone. The thought of people saying how sorry they were over and over again suffocated me. It took a friend looking me in the eyes and saying “Kim, honey, as much as you don’t want too, you have too…” Walking out into the crowd of people was horrible. What I remember felt like eternity, a kaleidoscope of faces, and the horrible feeling of a dry mouth, a pounding head ache heaving harshly, and nothing in my body to throw-up.
As I gathered my thoughts months down the road the faces became clearer to me. It’s a blessing that it did because not only were Grants life time of friends there, each one of us had a life time of friends and family gathered in disbelief. This group of lifetime friends have continued to share stories with us and remind us of how greatly loved Grant and my family is.
Friends fade in and out through our lives, sometime for short, maybe some for much longer periods of time. I believe they all play a part in who we are and who we will become. That night, evening, and the next morning I learned what the word friend means. Not seeing eye to eye on world issues or always agreeing on what I now see as a silly reason for parting ways these friends continued to support me through such a difficult time. It makes me regret the silly issues that caused our friendships to fade. I feel sorry for losing touch over the years and wish that time back. If there is one great lesson I learned from Grant it would be I’m not perfect. I should have dealt differently in many matters. What I have learned from that night is this: at some point in my life they cared for me and my family and I will never forget that. Some may wonder if I remember their thoughtful condolences. I do; every one of them. When you lose a child nothing means more than knowing they were loved. As a mother having lost a child nothing means more than friends that unconditionally care for you, in the good days and the bad days. Thank you to my FRIENDS… from the past to the present. Thank you for your cards, for your gifts, for your thoughtful notes, for liking my photos I’ve shared in a puddle of tears, understanding it’s hard to let go, for caring on my sad days, for forgiving my behavior when I’m angry. Thank you for praying for me and for understanding my mood swings that I’m sure will continue. Thank you for sitting in bed with me when I just wanted to talk. Thank you for sitting with me as I cried in the dark. Thank you friend for listening every morning, for nearly a year you counseled me by saying nothing, you just listened. Very much like a song we all know… a friend says it best by saying nothing at all.