An Amazing Miracle
There’s a lot of lists out there about what to do and what not to do when someone dies – how to talk to someone who has lost a loved one, how to help, what is most appreciated. I have to admit that my attention wanders when I get to about number three. At almost five months since Tom died, I still feel like so much of my grief is private and untouchable. Nothing anyone does or says is going to change the fact that he is gone and even the most insensitive things said are still coming from a place of wanting to comfort. All that aside, I have been amazed and truly humbled and tangibly lifted by the acts of service that have come to our family and that are still coming.
The days following Tom were overwhelming in so many ways but the most beautiful thing about them was the steady stream of friends and family who came and mourned with me and my children. They came with food or flowers or cards but they all came with hugs and tears in their eyes and love. And those who were far away sent messages – Facebook or texting or phone calls or flowers – some way to show that we were in their minds and hearts. Where I once would have been reluctant to intrude on another’s grief, now I know what a blessing and comfort that was to see visible proof that so many were grieving with me and that cared about me.
In the weeks that have passed, people have done yard work, cleaned my house while I was in Utah to bury Tom, helped turn off the sprinkler system, checked in with us about car troubles and water heater troubles, took my laundry every week, brought in meals three times a week, sent me texts, took me to lunch, invited our family to dinner, sent care packages full of goodies and gift certificates for meals, invited us to join their family nights, shared memories of Tom, taken my kids so I could attend my bookclub, organized movie nights, shared books about grief, helped me negotiate the mountains of paperwork, made money donations (some of them much more generous than I could almost believe), came and brought breakfast or lunch and stayed to visit, gave me hugs at church or asked how we were doing, made plans for me to look forward to, made sure we had plans for the holidays and checked in to see how things were going.
Much of the day to day living is back on my plate – I’m taking care of meals and laundry and cleaning. But the texts and calls and hugs and lunches continue. Every week someone does something, big or small, that reminds me that I’m still loved – that just because the event is fading into the past, doesn’t mean that I am alone or that the prayers for our family have ceased.
There is so much that happens in the world that is depressing or evil or wrong – that makes us wonder about humanity. But in the face of Tom’s loss, I have been overwhelmed with how good people are – how much they care and how even small acts can add up to such an amazing miracle. I hope that I will be more quick to be part of the miracle in someone else’s life.