Namely, the loss of life.
Last Friday, a 17 year old who just graduated from high school was killed in a car accident. Her name was Susan, and she was my friend Sarah's stepsister. I knew who Susan was from my yearbook days and from attending the same high school, but I never actually talked to her.
Sarah, however, is one of my best friends. When I found out, immediately I sought to find out how she was doing. I didn't have the chance to speak to or see her until I went to Susan's visitation.
In the hours leading up to the visitation, I found myself helplessly trying to think of ways to help Sarah. She's a strong lady, but I knew from my own experiences that grief gets even the best of us. Grief always does. It's a mysterious thing.
I left the house, still not knowing what I would say when I saw her. My best friend Becca and I went together, and as I walked up to Sarah, anything that I had hoped to say (which wasn't much) fell to the floor. All I could do, and as I think about it now all that was needed, was to hold her. A long hug and several Iloveyous. Hugs aren't always cures, but sometimes they're good bandaids. I felt her collapse, as for one terrifying moment I thought I would collapse under the weight of all the grief that permeated the room like a thick fog. How can I help my friend if I can't even keep myself together?
I mourn and pray for Susan, but my mourning and praying is more for my friend and her family. I'm being honest with myself when I say I feel bad when I read that sentence, but I didn't know Susan.
Humans are emotional beings, some are just better than others about hiding or not hiding their emotions. I don't like to hide them much anymore as it does me no good. The loss of any life, known or not, is hard especially when it is a young life.
Later that day I kept thinking about how to help. What can I do to make Sarah's day a little brighter? What can I do to help stem the tide of emotions? It hit her harder than she expected, and knowing that threw me for a loop, consequently getting me more than I thought it would. How can I help her with that? I was at a loss for any kind of action. I almost felt that my thoughts were paralyzed. I like finding solutions and ways to help others. Why was it so hard for me to do that now?
Then I sat down and prayed. I realized at the time that that was the only thing I could do. I prayed for healing and peace for Sarah and her family, for the Holy Spirit to bring them back together after their loss. I also asked for guidance. God, what can I do?
Shortly after, Becca and I came up with an ingenious idea where the only things involved are friends, Harry Potter, musicals, junk food, and play. Divine providence is always a good thing, but it's even better when you actually see God's hand guiding you. Later that night, I read this before I fell asleep:
"One day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." -2 Peter 3:8And it all made perfect sense. Sort of. Death and grief I will never understand. But what to do when I don't know what to do?
Everything on this earth passes away--all too quickly. But eternity will never pass away. -St. Aloysius Gonzaga
Pray. Why couldn't I have thought of that earlier?