Yesterday – A day Without a Post

On Monday evening I received the news that a good friend had died.  It was not altogether unexpected as he had been in and out of hospital quite a lot in recent months and always came out cheerful and looking ready to continue with his place in the world.  But not this time.

And yesterday I spent time with the widow.  How that brought back those early hours and days when my husband died.  And even though I have been there, in that self same situation,there was no way I could really understand just what she was going through.  We have to come to terms with the death of somebody so loved, and so close , each in our own way.

I phoned early in the morning and got the answerphone and it brought this poem by Michael Laskey to mind.

“After he died he went on speaking
On the ansaphone: he’d apologize
For being out and ask us to leave
Our names and messages after the tone.
At first we couldn’t, we just hung up, ….”
From Life After Death by Michael Laskey
English poet. 1944 –

How often in the months following my husband’s death did I find something that was so full of him that it brought a fresh wave of grief and tears?  A slip of paper on which he had written himself a note, a card I had given him on a celebration day that he had used as a bookmark, his notebook with his writing, his Cross pen that always went everywhere with him.

It is always the little things that undo us.  We think we are strong and coping and then something small happens and we are right back into that trough of despair that we thought we were climbing out of.

So what could I do to help?  I cooked a fillet of beef so that it could be there for when people call in to express their condolences.  I remember my daughter-in-law saying how much she appreciated those gifts of ready prepared food in the days and weeks following my husband’s death.

It was too soon to exchange remembrances of her husband and so I could only sit with her and hold her when the tears came.

I found that those friends who just came and sat with me, speaking only if I wanted them to, were those that helped most at that time.

So I shall go back today to see what I can do, if anything, to help.  And sit with her while she processes what has happened in her mind and somehow gets herself ready to face the months and years ahead.  There will be time for memories to surface and for laughter to accompany most of them in the months ahead.  But for now I shall just be with her.


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45 responses to “Yesterday – A day Without a Post

  1. Sometimes silence is the best healer. Just to have someone sit with you in quiet is enough. You’re a good friend for being there. Everyone mourns in their own way. No one can ever say “I know how you feel” because you can’t. You know they grieve, but the emotions are always their own.

  2. You are such a nice person Judith that just being there for when she wants help or needs to talk will mean a lot to her. Take care Love you lost Special Lady X

    • Thank you. I have spent most of today with her as she met with the minister and the funeral directors again. But that’s what friends are for.
      And yes, it takes me back to those awful first days…

  3. Sorry I meant Love you Lots (Senior moment)X

  4. You are a special friend, indeed. Sorry for your friend’s loss, and yours,too.

  5. Often “just being” is the best thing we can do. My condolences to your friend. She is fortunate to have a good friend like you to help her through this difficult time.

  6. I understand the kindness of bringing over food for the visitors at the home of the bereaved but never felt like sitting around having dinner or understand how others would be in the mood in the first place. I do suppose there is a lot of symbolism in the act, however.

    • Apparently yesterday somebody else brought in food for the friend and themselves. And it appears she ate some. But she has eaten a couple of slices of fillet today and nothing else. And I agree, I have never felt like sitting down having dinner at this time but I guess others do. Thanks for the comment:)

  7. Sorry to hear of the loss of your friend, Judith. I’m glad you are able to be there for your friend, having already been through the loss of a spouse, you have insight that many do not. You’re a great friend.

    • Thank you Patti. Everybody has to deal with a loss of this magnitude in their own way. My friends were there for me, and now it’s my turn.

  8. Your presence will always be remembered and cherished by your friend. So sorry for your loss and the sad memories it stirs in you.

  9. You are a good friend to know when to be quiet and when to speak. Sorry for your friends grief and yours.

  10. You have done and are continuing to do exactly what needs to be done. It is wonderful that your friend has such a sensitive friend.

    It has been more than two years since I lost my wife. http://rummuser.com/?p=948 I still keep coming across reminders of our days together in little things just the way you do. Just five minutes before I read your post, as I was making tea, I remembered her with the sounds of morning birds that the two of us would enjoy together while having our tea.

    Yes, what I cherished most after the loss was the way my friends and family would come and just be with me. So, what you plan to do is exactly what would be most appropriate.

    • Your tribute to your wife is so moving. I am sure that all who knew her respected and loved her as you still do.
      Thanks for commenting on this post. It was difficult to write bringing back sad memories as it did.

  11. Beautiful post, Judith.
    The first duty of love is to listen.

    May your friend find peace in the days ahead.

    • Thank you Nancy. We all need to grieve in our own way and I know the days, weekls and months ahead will be hard for her. But with the help of her friends and the memories of a 48 year marriage to a good man, she will survive and come through the other side of this tunnel.

  12. I’m so sorry for your loss. Your experience and instincts make you exactly what your friend needs in this difficult time.

    • Thank you. I think my friend will keep it together until after the funeral. then she will need more care and attention from her friends. Unfortunately, there is no family as she is quite alone in this world.

  13. Its a great gift to be able to be there for a friend

    • Thanks Susan. In my life coaching business I always told peop[le that the most important faculty we have is the ability to listen, and also to be quiet.

  14. What a wonderful gift of friendship to offer a dear friend during a particularly sad time… My condolences go out to her on her loss and I agree with you that, sometimes, just sitting quietly nearby is all a friend in pain needs from us… I pray she finds comfort and healing in the coming days, weeks and months.
    Blessings,
    E

  15. Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)

    What a lovely friend you are. Thank you for sharing this, as it is a reminder to all that sometimes the best thing we can do is just be there.

  16. You are a good friend. It is lovely to have people like you in difficult times

  17. You are a wonderful friend. Just having someone there can help so much. Words are often not needed.

  18. Just losing my brother last month, I can truly relate to this post. Some times it is best to just be able to sit down with a friend, in silence. We each have our own way of dealing with sorrow, and judt knowing our friends are close is a gift of the heart.

    • I do agree. Just having someone there for you is so important. And now I am leaving to take her to the funeral home to say her last goodbye. More sorrow and sadness.

  19. I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend.

    You are a wonderful friend, being there. Oftentimes, that’s all that is needed.

  20. This brought tears to my eyes. It’s a reminder that the uncomfortableness, the loss of words that death brings is an opportunity to be completely available for someone else, and not focused on ones own ineptitude. You have a good heart.

    • There are no words to convey to another how much you hurt for that person. And for the person grieving, it is a lonely and hard road to travel.

  21. Thank you for sharing this Judith. I’ve gotten behind in reading your blog and decided to catch up by starting at the most recent. Describing the kind of person that helped you most when your husband died is so helpful and appropriate. I always worry I won’t have the right words, but I learn from you that there are no right words and not speaking may be best of all. Just being there…Thank you so much!

  22. My condolences to you and your friend’s family on the loss of your friend. It’s good that you all were together during this time instead of alone.

  23. Just saw this, Judith (I’m a little behind). Yes, just being there is the best thing we can do sometimes. And bringing food. Not having to prepare meals and having other people take care of you is such a comfort. I’m so sorry you lost your friend.

    • This couple were among the first friends we made when we came to Wellington 40 plus years ago. And now she is alone. I can only be with her through the awful days, weeks and months ahead. Thank you for your comm)

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