27 February 2006

What do you say?

When a friend is suffering through the loss of a family member the protocol is pretty simple. When you see them you give them a hug and tell them that you're sorry for their loss. You feel sad for them and you can empathize with what they're going through since it's similar to something you've gone through yourself..

Sometimes it's not so simple. Your friend is going through something more along the lines of a heart-wrenching, cheesy Hallmark movie. Your heart breaks for them, and if you try hard enough you can almost wrap your head around what they must be feeling. Perhaps you know of another who has gone through something similar..

But what do you say when that friend is suffering through something more like a horrific CSI episode? What if, not only does your heart break, but your stomach churns? What if, no matter how hard you try, you can't imagine that happening to someone you know?

Late last night, my friend C called me. I missed her call but called right back and spoke to her girlfriend, C was in no shape to talk. -- A bit of background information; C comes from a small, very dysfunctional family. Her parents almost never talk to her. Her sister never talks to her. Really the only family she has is her aunt, her cousin, and her cousin's 6 year old daughter.. --- C wanted me to do her a favor. For the rest of the week she wants me to stop in Tacoma as I pass through while at work (Tacoma is just south of Seattle) and pick up a local paper. Tacoma is where her cousin lived. I say "lived" because she's no longer alive.

I know things like this happen, usually on TV, but it's always to someone you've never heard of, someone no one you know has ever met. The story is still being pieced together, but according to both C and the local news her cousin had disappeared a couple days ago. She'd dropped her daughter off at her aunt's house and didn't pick her up. The next day, still being unable to reach her, her aunt called the police to file a missing person's report. She then accompanied the police to her home where they found her.. In a bathtub filled with water.. Chopped up... Her soon to be ex-husband is believed to have done it, since he is missing along with her car.

Tonight, while I'm at work, I'll stop by the truck stop and pick up a paper. Tomorrow, when I meet with C to give her that paper, I'll give her a hug and hope like hell I can think of something to say.. Somehow, "I'm sorry" doesn't seem to be enough.....


2 Comments:

Blogger leaner said...

Oh...my...
I don't know what you would say, that has to be the hardest thing. I mean I can't even fathom that, or how it would be to deal with it.
One of Will's really good friends and the drummer in his band, was found murdered a few years ago, and it was hard. Will and the friends sat together all night one night trying to come up with motives and suspects. In the end, they all felt empty and drank themselves into a stupor in his memory. There are still times that Will talks about him like he is still here, and has to say "oh wait, I can't call G, because he's gone"
Not that its anything like a CSI scene, but I had no idea what to say to them, any of them. I felt helpless (KNOCK ON WOOD) having never lost a friend myself.
I would say hugs, shoulders to cry on, and a listening ear are the best tools to helping C deal with this. My heart goes out to her, and the family. How awful.

2/27/2006 7:21 AM

 
Blogger TLC said...

you are one of the most loving and compassionate people I know. You will bring comfort to her w/ just your presence. May you be filled w/ light and peace to pass along to your friend.

2/27/2006 9:37 AM

 

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