I'm guessing it will take a few days for this melancholy feeling to subside. My thoughts are a little gloomy, which stands in stark contrast to the this amazingly warm and sunshiny autumn day. Maybe sharing these thoughts doing somersaults in my head will be therapeutic.
This story goes way back, almost thirty years. A girl I knew lost her precious two year old one summer, after a routine medical procedure. I did all the things, you know, flowers, food, visitation. She was quite a shy, introverted kind of person, so mostly I saw her at church. One night, it had to have been this time of year, because I remember it being dark outside, I was putting away supper, in a hurry to get to the library. This had been a gourmet meal, plain ol' potato soup, when it crossed my mind (God nudge), to drop it off to her, as her house was on my way to the library. I had a second thought about how silly it would be to show up on someone's porch after dark, and after supper with a tupperware bowl of potato soup of all things- dumb idea, forget it. Then I had another nudge, "Take the soup." So off I trotted, library books and soup in tow. I wondered what in the world I'd even say. I knocked, she answered and I just mumbled something about wondering if she'd like some soup with the weather turning cold, and that she'd been on my mind. She took the soup, smiled and thanked me, closed the door and I was off, not before thinking again that it probably was a really dumb idea, and she was even now looking at that container and kind of shaking her head. What I had no way of knowing was that bowl of soup opened the door to a long and precious friendship.
Let's move ahead to the following summer, when I knew the anniversary of her little Daniel was coming. I did not know what to say, or what to do, so offered to do anything at all to help her through the day. As I recall, we ended up taking toys to give to the fire station for their toy drive in Daniel's memory, then a balloon to the cemetery.
Later, I found out that the day of the soup had been a particularly awful one for her, and that a homely gift made all the difference to someone drowning in sorrow. Thank God for those nudges. I was surprised when she told me that Daniel's first anniversary felt as horrific to her as the actual event. I had no idea, assuming that time had done some healing work in twelve months. She shared with me that not a single other person, family or otherwise, in her life had remembered and acknowledged the day. I
remember her asking me if I would always remember with her. Have mercy, the heartbreak of those words. And I did- his anniversary, birthday and Christmas, for a long time. Many years later, my heart rejoiced when she said that her heart had healed and it wasn't necessary anymore.
So, all that to say, when someone who means the world to you loses someone who means the world to them, mark it on your calendar, then put a reminder date a week ahead. Tell the person you know the day is coming and ask what you might do. Don't be surprised if they have no idea. How awesome if you can help them out with that. Maybe they are too sad to even think about it. I have offered to spend the day shopping for a gift to give in their loved one's memory, picking out and planting a tree,with them, creating a bit of a memorial garden spot, bringing supplies to scrapbook a memory, hanging out wherever the person chooses (be prepared for it to be the cemetery), well you get the idea. Of course, the person might turn you down. That's okay, you made an effort that won't go unnoticed.
I don't know if there is a worst thing about losing someone you love. The reality of there not being one more minute with her/him this side of heaven tops my list, but fearing she/he will be forgotten comes roaring into second place. Never underestimate the value of you remembering, and being willing to give your time. JUST DO IT!
It is a beautiful day and I hope you find a chuckle of your own somewhere.