In the months since my son died, I have reconnected with old friends, and made new friends within this (startlingly large) community of bereaved parents.
Many of my dear friends have drawn closer, but I’m troubled by others who have slipped away. I recognize that not everyone who enters our life is meant to stay forever, but I’m not yet ready to give up on a few special ones.
I just found this ‘letter to a friend’ in Margaret Brownley’s, “Grieving God’s Way.” Here are excerpts that capture what I would want to say:
Please be patient with me; I need to grieve in my own way and in my own time… The best thing you can do is listen to me and let me cry on your shoulder. Don’t be afraid to cry with me. Your tears will tell me how much you care.
Please forgive me if I seem insensitive to your problems. I feel depleted and drained like an empty vessel with nothing left to give. Please understand why I must turn a deaf ear to criticism or tired clichés. I can’t handle another person telling me that time heals all wounds.
Please don’t try to find the “right” words to say to me. There’s nothing you can say to take away the hurt. I need hugs, not words.
Please don’t push me to do things I’m not ready to do or feel hurt if I seem withdrawn. This is a necessary part of my recovery. Please don’t stop calling me. You might think you’re respecting my privacy, but to me if feels like abandonment.
Please don’t expect me to be the same as I was before….. I’m a different person. Please accept me for who I am today. Pray with me and for me. Should I falter in my faith, let me lean on yours.