Fear, support and endurance in the face of adversity
A dear friend lost his father recently. On the day of the service, I went by his house early morning as we had to drive for about an hour to attend the funeral. In that hour long drive, there were moments of laughter, quietness, reflection, sadness. All interwined with one another.
As he was facing the casket, I stood by, just a few steps behind and to his side, holding onto his shoulder. He was the one that had to deal with an insurmountable event. The one that had to find ways to cope with this unbeareable loss. He knew, nothing and noone could bring his father back. He knew that he had to learn to live without his presence. Find ways to navigate his life that has just been upended by forces outside of his control.
Yet, in that moment, he wasn’t alone. He could feel my presence and the presence of others close to him. Every step he took to his father’s grave, was a step he took in the presence of others. Not feeling alone, made this ordeal somewhat bearable.
Unlike death, which is very much real, hardship can be in disguise. Seeing a loved one struggling, feeling powerless to help them can be very frightening at times. A prolonging struggle will only grow that fear. Fear that you are not doing enough to help, fear that something bad is going to happen to them on your watch.
My friend knew I couldn’t bring his father back. He knew he had to deal with what life had thrown his way, alone. There was nothing to say or do in this very moment. Being there was powerful enough.
Something so simple as being present, may seem hard to fathom outside ceremonial moments like these. Sometimes, what is being asked of you is not to come up with a solution or to offer a piece of advice. Sometimes, comfort found in your presence is what people look for as they endure hardship.
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