Not too attractive, is he? He doesn’t say much, but boy do you feel his presence. He’s kinda gloomy to have around and he can be a real spoil sport at parties or other joyous occasions. The best is when he decides to come on strong for no apparent reason… but then that’s usually when I’ve been ignoring him and not being a good friend.
But who’d WANT to hang out with him? Plus he’s there hanging in out… ALL THE TIME! No matter how I try to ignore him or put him in a neat little box on the shelf, he’s always there. Just can’t shake him, not for one moment. Okay for a moment or two on some really happy, enjoyable, unbelievable moment or two, but then he’s back and usually with a vengeance. And I don’t blame Grief, that’s his nature. And I have to believe within that nature is a purpose.
So why is he my friend and not my foe? You’d think he’d be my foe. After all, he only arrived after the death of my eight-year-old son. If I look upon him as my foe, he will crush me. If I were to get rid of him, and all the heartache that goes with him, then I’d also lose Jacob 100%. I never want to lose Jacob again. And I won’t as long as I keep his memory alive and I carry him in my heart every day.
So I figure if I befriend him, I can survive, and maybe even thrive.
Huh? Why would I want to THRIVE? My kid is dead.
That’s totally crappy; it’s true. But life is more than our sorrows and failures, so much more. We need to embrace it as best we can, each in our own way.
Ah, but herein lies the rub: I promised my son before they took him away for the last time that I would not let this defeat me and that I would make him proud.
But even beyond that: I am alive. I am blessed to be alive in this moment. And if I’m alive, Jacob is too. His memory lives with me.
But back to this Friend of mine. What makes a good friend? Why do you befriend anyone? How does a friendship work?
I have some thoughts on the matter (and I’m sure there’s more):
- You learn about friends. You want to know about them.
- You accept a friend for who they are and don’t expect them to change. If they change themselves, that’s on them.
- Friends have space on the calendar. We allow for them to be a part of our lives.
- Sometimes we disagree with friends and argue, but we make up and move on.
- We learn from friends. They help us with life lessons and show us where we’ve made mistakes.
- Friends offer comfort.
And what’s with the word, “Befriend”? Wouldn’t that imply that you have to “be a friend” to become one? If that’s the case, what does that mean? That would mean that there is an effort on my part to get to know this new-found stranger. I should introduce myself and say hello. I should ask questions and make polite conversation. I should find out what his nuances are, his likes and dislikes, and if he likes long walks on the beach. And if we’re really living, we could chat about Jacob. I could reveal my secret: I have two children, one living, one dead.
Or perhaps befriending means you just “be” together.
And since Grief isn’t much of a talker, he’s more an intuitive one, so I have to be still and listen him reveal himself to me. Sometimes the message is clear, other times not. But if I make the effort, surely success is in there.
Should I take my Friend Grief out for drinks on Saturday and introduce him to all my real life friends?Maybe.
Maybe it’s better not trying to leave him at home, pretending that he’s not waiting for when I get back, or worse lurking around the corner. If I just admit he’s there, he’s much less likely to give me trouble. And what of the other real, live guest at this part? Yeah, they should know about this uninvited Friend, or at least be able to speak of it without repercussions. Then we can all relax and have a good time, right?
Friends help you out in a pinch…
They don’t let you wallow and become stagnant.
They encourage you to succeed and lend a hand when they can.
They are your shoulder to cry on and join you in a good laugh.
I have always felt that within myself there is a purpose waiting to burst free and help others in a profound way. I will, I know I will and Grief will help me do it. After all, what are friends for?
I think that’s enough for tonight… I’d like to get some sleep!
Thank you for this gift of inspiration.