As I (gracefully) get older, I find that more and more is ripped from my life and from others around me. What do you say to someone who just lost a spouse, their best friend, a parent, a child… there just isn’t a way to convey those thoughts properly in today’s electronic social media. “Sorry” is an apology, meant for admission of guilt and regret. “Condolences”… a word meaning shared sadness from someone who cannot possibly know what you are feeling. Loss is an inevitable part of life, one that we will never be comfortable with experiencing. When your heart falls into your stomach and the tears come, not one person truly understands what you are feeling even if they have suffered a similar loss. Every relationship is different. Length, depth, consistency, emotion, dependence, experience… different for every connection in the world.
A friend of mine just lost her best friend. I don’t have the words to make the pain lessen or to make the grief pass by any faster. Truthfully, it would be a disservice to her and her friend to try. The grieving process takes time and is a very intimate, personal thing. Without it, there would be no end to the pain.
So what can you do for someone who has lost someone very dear to them, without whom life will never be the same? Offer comfort. Hugs. Tears. Listen to the stories that tell how such a powerful bond was formed. Be there for the quiet times, and the empty moments. Help them see the world as it is after their loss, and help them adapt. Nothing can make it “better”, but you can be a part of a positive future for them.