Reaching Out

A lot of people seem to minimize it when they contact someone after a loss. They say something like, “Just reaching out,” “There are no words, but…” or “I know everyone is asking you this, but how are you?”

If you sent me a Facebook message, text, email, or card, thank you. If you came to Allan’s funeral, visited me, gave me a hug, made me food, took me to lunch, offered to help, raised money, sent flowers or presents, thank you. I may not have responded, or if I did it sounded short or robotic, because I don’t really know what to say any more than you do. Sometimes you did know what to say because you had been through something similar, or you are just way more emotionally intelligent than I am.

Everything you did was right and amazing. I know why we say “reaching out” now. It really felt like you were extending a hand into the darkness to me. I’m still floundering and trying to figure out my new normal, but if I had any doubt before, now I know just how many truly wonderful people I have in my life. It’s a weird thing to be sad and at the same time overwhelmed with gratitude, awe, and love.

It also makes me realize that I’ve missed a lot of opportunities to reach out to people in tough circumstances. I chose not to because I didn’t feel like I knew how, or I figured they already had enough support from people closer to them and we haven’t talked in a while anyway. Man, how wrong I was. Better people than I am reached out to me after not talking to or seeing me in years. YEARS, like a decade. Wow.

I know I never thought about the possibility that I could be changed for the better after losing my husband, but I can tell you I will strive to err on the side of sending that message or card rather than not. It certainly doesn’t hurt, and you never know how much it could mean.

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