outside looking in....

i have asked some of mine and tims friends and family members to contribute to this blog. they are woven pieces throughout our story and have been there through the good, bad, ugly and comical. i think it gives an interesting perspective on how they are handling their own grief and can give people who may be in their shoes a voice. when we suffer a loss our knee jerk reaction is to want to be comforted by our friends and family. we think they should have all the tools to help us manage our grief. they should be able to say the right words to take away our pain, they should know what not to say and what not to do, they should know when we need them and when we need space.... but this is just not reality. we the grievers easily lose sight that they are also grieving in different ways.  my mother is grieving for the loss of her son-in law and she is also grieving for me her daughter who shouldnt have had to bury her husband. tims brothers and sister are grieving the loss of their brother ,their friend and words left unsaid between them. my girlfriends are grieving for me as their friend and also facing a harsh truth that we the young are not invincible. grief is scary for everyone no matter what the connection.

this post is from my dear friend andrea. we have been friends since college. we were roommates, road trip  buds and sisters. andrea was a bridesmaid in our wedding. she was there when we started and she was there when we ended. these are her words. 

“What the fuck?!”, that was my first reaction when I got the news as I was shopping the handbag department at Nordstrom. What. The. Actual. Fuck. The sales associate must have heard me because she came over and asked if I needed help. I politely dismissed her, thinking to myself “I need more than help right now”. Of course, the news of death knocks the wind out of you however the news of someone so young and healthy dying…. Well that’s just ridiculous. On the flight to Miami the next day, I racked my brain over and over about what I was going to say to her. Although everyone kept telling me you don’t have to say anything, just be there for her. Ironic, because when Sam and I are together you rarely have a moment of silence – so not speaking to her wouldn’t be awkward at all, okay. What was I supposed to say? “He is in a better place?” No, that’s a lie. He belongs here. “He’s not suffering anymore?” But he wasn’t suffering in the first place. “It will be okay?” But will it? You’d have a hard time convincing me of that. “I’m sorry for your loss?” She didn’t “lose” him, he wasn’t misplaced, he was ripped away. “Everything happens for a reason?”, dumbest fucking thing I have ever heard in any context– don’t even get me started. Would I hug her? She hates hugs and I hate touching people. Would I tell her she looks pretty just to make her happy? Compliment her on her outfit? Shallow I know, but I was running out of ideas. I don’t know what it’s like to have a dead husband. Shit, I don’t even know what it’s like to have a living husband. Truth is, I didn’t need an icebreaker – there LITERALLY were no words that made sense, because NOTHING at this point made sense. He wasn’t supposed to die, he was 28. He enlisted in the military and served in Iraq – that should have given him a free pass right? He was loved and needed by so many, couldn’t it happen to someone else? Sam is big on not speaking if you don’t have anything (that she wants to hear) to say – so I figured I’d just be there- literally. Sam and I have seen each other through the good, the bad, the ugly – that’s the benefit of a friendship spanning over 10+ years starting freshman year of college. She is my go-to for advice, support, and especially when I want to yell every curse word in the book because I had a bad day... she’s who I call. I say ‘HAD a bad day’ because I’m pretty sure nothing trumps being a widow at 29 now. I knew our friendship was forever changed. She relied so heavily on Tim for so many things. I guess that’s what married people do. He loved her so much, not in an uncomfortable-to- be-around- make-me- sick kind of way, in a I’m-so- glad-shes- my- best-friend-i- found-her- soulmate kind of way. And for that I loved Tim. Out of respect for him, I know it’s my job to keep her head above water on the days she has trouble doing it herself. The funny thing is, in all honesty, SHE keeps my head above water. Sam – I’ve said it before and I won’t ever stop saying it… I am so proud of your resilience and your bravery (you’re rolling your eyes, I know). They say you don’t know someone’s true strength until they’ve hit rock bottom – and no offense, Sam, but I never thought you’d have it in you to wake up and give every single day hell – “blasting through the day” as you call it - while carrying such a heavy heart. I’m humbled and honored to be your friend, there is no one stronger. There are going to be days when you feel lonely, but I promise you are never alone. So much love.

-andrea