A few days ago, I saw one of my favorite coworkers, everyone loves him, he is kind and has a sweet smile. Despite the ongoing restrictions I gave him a hug (we were both wearing masks) and my condolences. I had heard his mother had passed away, she lived in another country, so he was not able to travel to her funeral. She died two weeks before she was to move into the home he was building for her. It was sudden. I had heard the story from someone else.
He began, and told me the exact same story, I listened knowing all the words. He was grateful he had returned to his country last year and had been able to spend time with her then as this year’s circumstances made it impossible. He had watched her funeral by phone…. he ended with her age lamenting she was too young to leave this world.
Often people say, “I don’t know what to say!” when faced with another’s loss. I have learnt that silence has a deep beauty, that holding space with someone while they process their pain is truly what they need. Telling our stories to each other is part of making the unbearable real, part of the healing process. Being heard, having the pain recognized is a gift we can give each other. Hugs are really nice too.