Archive | March, 2018

Springing Forward

31 Mar


I’ve always loved Spring.  The flowers are blooming, the sun’s warmth returning, the fresh earth filling the air with its’ scent.  It’s all about renewal. Yet the reason we celebrate renewal is that things we love have died or gone dormant.  The trees that have shed their leaves, the grass that has died, the loved ones that have left us behind.

A few weeks ago, I remembered that a friend’s daughter had succumbed to cancer.  This happened in October while I was in Florida clearing out my Dad’s condo.  Her daughter had passed months ago and because I was busy with my own “stuff,” I did not send a card.  When I finally did remember, I sent a card expressing my condolences and my sadness for her loss.

I told another friend, who’d lost her husband recently, that I felt bad that my card was so late in coming.  She told me that it is never too late to send a sympathy card because grief does not go away quickly.  While others have moved on with their lives, the person grieving will still be “walking through the valley of the shadow”, as my pastor calls it. Simple expressions of sympathy are likely to be welcome for a very long time.

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After my friend received my card, she got in touch with me and shared that she’d been unable to go into her kitchen to cook; it was just more than she could handle.  She asked if she could pay me to cook for her.  My heart hurt and so that very afternoon I baked her an Asparagus and Pepper Quiche and brought it up to her house.  I told her that since the next day was “pi” day, the “pie” was my gift.  She invited me in for what I thought would be a few minutes… but instead turned into a two-hour visit with her and her husband as they shared their story with me.  It was an unexpected moment of grace… and for that, I am truly grateful.

When faced with the enormity of a friend’s loss, we can feel powerless… because we can’t fix what went wrong.  And while that is true, what we can do is visit with the one who is grieving and bear witness to their pain.  We don’t need to find the right thing to say.    What our friends need is to tell their story and for us to listen.  At times, they may need you to hold them as they (and maybe you) cry.  Just being with them is a precious gift.

In the Jewish tradition, the act of being with a person in mourning is called ‘Sitting Shiva.’ During the period of Shiva, mourners sometimes sit on low stools or boxes while they receive visitors. This is where the phrase “sitting shiva” comes from, and it is a practice that symbolizes the mourner being “brought low” following the loss of a loved one (

Can you relate?  I sure can.  When grief has hit me, I have felt like my legs buckled underneath me and found I was unable to stand.  It takes time to find ones’ bearings after a great loss and I love that friends join the mourner in sitting low… recognizing the blow that’s been dealt.

At this time, I send you all warm wishes for a beautiful Spring (and Easter or Passover) and encourage you to reach out to friends who have suffered a loss.  If you can, offer them something tangible.  Perhaps you can mow their lawn or clean their gutters.  Maybe you can bring a meal or bake a batch of cookies… or a pie.  And, please, just sit for a while with your friend who is suffering.  It will make you both feel so much better.

So it’s true when all is said and done, grief is the price we pay for love.” 

E.A. Bucchianeri

On a completely different note, this happened!