The right words…

Fall is a time of loss. Trees lose their leaves, the grass stops growing in the upper Midwest and we lose daylight hours. As the mornings turn crisp and frosty, the evenings get dark more quickly, and before we know it, the sun will be going down at 4:30.

This fall has been a time of loss and remembrance for many people also… an anniversary of loss for a friend’s son & nephew, a cousin’s husband, a friend’s stillborn baby, my mother-in-law and many others. Birthdays and anniversaries come and go. A friend recently lost her best friend, leaving behind a husband and two kids. I struggle to find the right words. I’m a “fixer”… I like to make things better. I’m not able to fix the holes in their hearts. I am fortunate enough to have both living parents, spouse, children, siblings and friends. The right thing to say to me might not be comforting to them. Eloquent sentences in my head turn into just “I’m sorry for your loss.” This isn’t like the trees shedding their leaves for the winter. Their person isn’t returning.

I feel a sense of aching for them. I think about all of the “what if’s” and “should have been’s”… wishing I could change the story. It’s not my place and I don’t have the power. I believe we will see our loved ones again, but it doesn’t make it easier when we wish we could hug them or talk to them one more time.

Psalm 23 is a comforting verse to me:

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for the sake of His name. 4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,a I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

A friend who I met at a survivor retreat found out she had weeks to live. Over the last month, friends and family from all over have come to visit. What an awesome and amazing outpouring of love. She has outlived their timeline and has had some wonderful company. They aren’t waiting for her funeral or death, they are celebrating every day she is alive. Wow.

I may not have the right words, but I will reach out anyway. I wish you peace on your journey of enough. If you are going through a season of loss and remembering, hold on. I wish I could find the perfect thing to say to comfort you. Just know that you are enough. Your grief journey is uniquely yours. You cannot do it wrong. Honor those you’ve lost, live your life, find peace and joy again.

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