I’ve been thinking about writing thank-you cards. Notice I didn’t say, “I’ve been writing thank-you cards”. I can’t quite find the words to express the depth of my gratitude to each individual person that’s helped me. For some reason, it’s easier and seems more meaningful to let the world know how I’m feeling right now. If you know me personally, you know that I recently lost my brother in-law. We were friends for over 20 years. I will miss him every day. I wrote a little about it here.
After he died, I debated for a few days about whether or not to say anything about it on Facebook. Yes, I’d made dozens of phone calls to inform those closest to him about his passing, but something about social media seemed so strange. Also, he hated Facebook. I decided to go ahead and do it, it was the fastest way to inform everyone I knew, and by proxy most of the people he knew what had happened. The response was both what I expected and entirely unexpected. Dozens of shocked and saddened friends e-mailed and called me offering support and sympathy. Friends that I hadn’t spoken to in years reached out. It was a humbling and enlightening experience. Thank you.
Aside from social media, my family received the normal offers of support. I am not trying to minimize these offerings in any way. All of it was extraordinarily helpful and kind. Food, cards, offers to babysit, hugs. We needed these things badly. I had a terrible bout of insomnia and didn’t sleep for 3 days. Meatballs and chicken soup and lasagna from friends kept me going, not just because I needed food, but because I knew that all of these things were prepared for our family out of love, and with each bite I was reminded of the support system we have. Thank you.
I experienced something I was totally unprepared and am eternally grateful for. Friends peeled back protective layers of carefully curated bandages and armor and showed me their scars and grief tattoos. They pointed to these old wounds and said, “This is where I sustained a near mortal wound. It hurts still. I don’t like talking about it, but I will, with you, because I love you. Because it will help.” And we talked about lost siblings, and mothers, and fathers, and grandparents, and best friends. And they all told me almost the exact same thing, “I didn’t think I could get through this, but I did. You will too. It will be OK.” They all said, “Anything you feel is normal. Grief is weird. Your body is weird. Just roll with it.” In order to help me, these friends opened up and exposed brutal old wounds. It was an extremely courageous and loving thing to do. Thank you.
I’m still going to send some cards, but I just want the world to know what an amazing group of people I have in my life. I am lucky. Thank you.