Thought Catalog
April 12, 2017

How To Love Someone Through Loss

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What is the issue?
Aricka Lewis

Jaime, a good friend of mine, came over a while ago before it started to rain everyday and the gray set in.  You know, the kind of rain that permeates everything you’re wearing and drips down deep, to your bones.

It was nice to get out with a friend and just be.  Inevitably, the topic came up.  It always does…it forces us to recognize its presence.  It refuses to be ignored, like a gargoyle just perched on my shoulder, cold, hard and frozen; beckoning to be acknowledged. It’s not enough just to be seen.

“So…how is he?  How are you?”  That’s all that needs to be said, of course.  It requires no explanation.

We talked.  I shared, she listened.  She talked, I listened.  She gave me love.  She asked questions.

She asked me a great question:  What sort of things are you two doing that would help you two find some happiness?

The answer came quickly, but I took time to think about it, to make sure I wasn’t being hasty.

My answer was, nothing.

I wanted to have a better answer…to at least say we’ve tried and failed or that maybe we actually had found something for him, for me, but it’s all been temporary.  Nothing truly satiates it…it’s similar to the ulcer I had once.  I kept thinking I was hungry but everything I tried to quell the pain just didn’t work…or made it worse.

Her question has been tumbling around my mind since she asked.

Neither one of us is able to find something that would find that missing ray of sunshine. It’s because nothing can fill or replace this void and type of loss.  It’s not that we aren’t finding ways to see the good things in life, it’s that this gaping hole just wont ever be filled.

How do you replace the love and light of your children when they die? Think of your kids and ask yourself how and what you’d replace them with…and have it equal the same amount of joy they bring you now.

It’s not that we haven’t tried.  It’s not that we haven’t laughed or celebrated either.  It’s that the world is frozen in time, muted by loss blanketing around our feet like snow…and we’re left holding bits and pieces of a life once lived, ashes in hand, staring at each other.

Everything takes an insurmountable amount of energy and leaves us restless, tired, heavy and our fuse for activities are limited.  But the pisser of it all is our fuse for doing nothing is just as limited.  It’s like purgatory.

At least right now.

You know that feeling you get when you look at your husband/wife/spouse/person and you see they’re hurting?  You can feel their sorrow and, and you wanna “fix” it?  And, the best part is that sometimes…YOU CAN!!??  What a great feeling, right?  You can cheer them up with love, light, laughter…and before you know it…it’s a new day.

I envy that ability.  I miss that feeling.  I want to be able to do that for my husband.

Instead, I do what I can.  I can walk along side him.  I can be here for the journey so he knows he’s not alone.  I can stare at Sam’s empty room with him and let the pain wash over.  I can organize all Maddy’s things in the pantry and decorate the house with memories of her.  I can be with him in the excruciating silence and stillness of the evening and hold his hand when Ben’s friends come over to say hello.

I can’t make the rain go away.  I wish I could stop the downpour.

Instead, I’ll just bring my umbrella. TC mark