Two of my friends died this summer.
One was a sweet friend from high school. Although we lived in different states, we kept in touch via Facebook. Another was a neighbor and mother of one of Daniel’s best friends. Both of these women were incredibly sweet, non-judgmental, thoughtful, kind, and beautiful – inside and out. The world is a little bit darker now that they are gone.
They each suffered trial after trial during their final years, and did so with faith, grace, and courage. They each left five children and adoring husbands behind. They were both LDS and believe, as I do, that families are forever and one day they will be reunited. I have no doubt that one day these sweet women will be able to hug their children again. If anyone can make into Heaven, it will be these two.
But I am NOT okay with this. Those kids need their mothers NOW. When K fell into an unexpected coma after what should have been a simple surgery, I was heartbroken by her teenage daughter’s plea: “Mommy, please come home. I need you.” This little(ish) girl knew that if her mom ever woke up, she would be severely brain damaged, and she didn’t care. She just wanted her mom. K’s 1st grader is being bullied, and he doesn’t have a mom to hug him and tell him how wonderful and handsome he is when he gets home from school. J’s look-a-like daughter won’t have a mom to help her get through her dating years. What good can possibly come from these precious children growing up without their mothers?
J’s son was at our house the day after she passed. He looked terrible. And I. Was. Useless. Should I hug him? Would that make it worse? Or better? What should I say? Should I feed him? J’s husband and this son came to visit Daniel and I in the hospital when Daniel had his accident. They were already experiencing severe trials, yet they came to comfort us. Now was my time to reciprocate, and I had no idea what to do.
I do not handle death well. I hate going to viewings. HATE. My husband and children have all been warned that when I die, they are NOT to have a viewing. HATE. So I didn’t go.
I didn’t go to either friend’s funeral. In both cases, I had legitimate conflicts, but I could have gotten out of them. I didn’t go because I was afraid. I knew that I would freeze. I didn’t want their families to have to comfort me when they were the ones who needed to be comforted. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing. I didn’t want to feel even more grief than I was already feeling. I didn’t want to see their children trying to be brave while their worlds were falling apart. Instead, I mourned in the safety of my own private world, sobbing while pulling weeds, letting tears fall while running down unoccupied trails.
I was selfish. Instead of reaching out to these families, I turned inward, filled with anger and sorrow.
I am a coward. And I hate that about myself.