Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
It has been a rough couple of years for me. I guess you could say rough decade considering I have lost my sister whom was more like a friend to me than a sibling, my father, my brother-in-law - the husband of my sister that passed earlier....and may as well have been a brother since they started dating when I was 6, and my spouse.
At first, none of these deaths seemed to affect me. At first, I just kept moving forward.
About a year after Janet's passing, I remember breaking down into tears standing in the middle of our kitchen. I don't recall what triggered the breakdown - most likely nothing. But suddenly I was crying. I didn't feel it coming on....the tears just started....and wouldn't stop.
I remember Brian coming around the corner from the living room and without saying a word, enveloped me in his arms, hugging me for what seemed like an eternity as I sobbed....and sobbed....and sobbed.
I remember the feeling of being safe, the feeling that it was okay to be sad, it was okay to let my feelings take over, the feeling of comfort, and the intense love we had for one another. That loving support....he had absolutely no idea why I was crying - or at least what had caused the river to begin - but deep down he knew.
He knew I was filled with sadness. He knew I missed Janet terribly. He knew I was out of sorts. He knew I was in a state of depression. He knew Ii was just walking through the motions of each day. He knew I was grieving.
Once the crying subsided and I took a deep breath, he shared all this with me....the recognition of my emotional state that I had been ignoreing. He told me he knew I was depressed. He knew I had an overwhelming sadness taking over my soul from the death of Janet. He knew I was in dispair.
And he accepted it.
He knew I could do better each day....I could be more engaged....I could be more involved.
But he accepted that I wasn't.
He had amble opportunity to be angry with my withdrawn behavior that year. He had numerous opportunities to turn away and move forward without me. He could have walked away. He could have ignored me,
But he never did.
His acknowledgement of my sadness and patience in waiiting for me to recognize it was a true testament to the love Brian had for me. He was concerned, yet he wanted me to find my own way, and stood by me allowing me to get to that point when the flood gates would open....naturally....on my own terms.
He didn't give up on me. He allowed me to find my way. He provided the support I needed - when I didn't realize I needed it nor acknowledged it. He held me up when I faltered.
But most importantly, he walked beside me....he waited....he loved me.
Over the next year, there was need for him to fill that role again....after a miscarriage and then the passing of my father. Once again I demonstrated that strength so many see in me, yet inside,unknown to myself, I was a wreck. And Brian knew it. And Brian supported me. And Brian waited. And Brian caught me when I fell.
He understood that everything comes in good time....good and bad.
Unfortunately, he wasn't there for me when I needed him the most.....after his own passing. And just like my past experiences, I needed to be strong. For our children. For his family. For those coming to his visitation. For those around me. For most do not know how to react to a grieving widow. And showing strength made it easier for everyone.
Those of you that have been following along the past year or so know it hasn't been an easy few years. Although it has been 8 years since Brian passed, the grieving doesn't just go away. It doesn't go away with one good cry.
It takes time. It sits inside you. It pops up here and there. It really never goes away.
Brian understood that.
Thankfully I have friends that understand that too. But for everyone else out there, please recognize that we all grieve differently. And it doesn't ever go away. It sits there....and sometimes the tears just appear for no reason.
Why do I mention this today? Well, for no reason today, as I was walking to my car after work, it hit me. As it has before.....and will again. For no reason whatsoever.
And I missed having Brian there to "walk around the corner to comfort me."
A hug from Rachel did just that after seeing her smile across the room from me today at her first cello lesson. Somehow, she knew her mom needed a hug and a smile,
So what do I ask you to take from this? Stand beside your friends....just wait....offer support....and wait. You may think they should be ready to move forward.....to cry....to get angry....to laugh. But really, they probably don't know they need that themselves. And telling them what they need won't work.
A soul in distress needs nurturing....and support along the way.....and a wordless hug when the flood gates break.
Thanks to all of you that have understood that over the years....you know who you are....I love you and appreciate you!