The daughter of a friend recently passed away. Her death was unexpected and unexplained. As I encourage her through the early stages of grief, the feelings I experienced after my son died come bubbling up to the surface. I’m reliving the choking, painful emotions as if they just happened to me.
The physical pain of losing a loved one is like being doused in acid and set on fire. Then dragged behind a car. I remember the terror of worrying I’d forget what he looked like, what his hand felt like in mine, how his voice sounded. In some ways, I didn’t want relief from the pain because it kept him close to me.
I recently read that unless you’ve suffered loss of a loved one, you can’t adequately comfort someone else who’s suffered the same loss. I’ve now been on both sides of the river. I’ve waded through the raging waters of grief and I now stand on the other side, gently coaxing my friend to keep forging the river. To keep coming. There’s rest on the other side.