There will come a day when there is nothing ahead that was in your plan, nothing happening that was supposed to happen; life is changing with such quickness you have no idea what your game plan is, except of course, one foot after the next.
Preferably yours, left then right, repeat. And, again.
Accidents, divorce, diagnoses, discoveries, and death.... we learn quickly to adapt, to cope. In a couple hours usually. Depending on the situation there may be the outward coping in the face of the dying or the grief, the inward coping, and the shared coping... for those who you trust and those whom you don't, and then the varying degrees between.
In the face of such change, as life changes, true colors show, and a life a worth rises up out of the dust as if to say: This is me, I am here now, and I matter. Friends and family with steady strength are the backbone... they do not make your suffering about them. Lean on them. There is no better time. Sway with them. They bend with the good and bad. They are unbreakable.
Be gentle on yourself. Allow yourself the time and space to just be and take in and account for what has happened. It's ok to look at it head-on. It's ok to put it off for a while too, but it’s just that, putting it off. Be good to yourself. Surround yourself with people you like and love. Not with the ones who are forcing themselves into your life because they are making this about them, or feed off the drama. If you have children you have an immediate need to attend to their well being and emotional needs... and it needs to happen simultaneously with yours... not to be put before yours.
Sometimes you are the one suffering, suffering a very great loss. And you think things could never get any worse. And then like a mighty wind you are surrounded by a small but powerful battalion of warriors fighting for you. And you are at once on your knees and humbled. And when you can finally open your eyes you see all the work they've done while you took refuge, safely behind them. And you are ok.
And then one day, tides will turn. You will get word that one of your battalion has suffered a very great loss. You plead with God to not let it be so, please don't let it be. Don't let there be hurt like this. I've been there. I’ve hurt like this. I don't want anyone to ever have to hurt like this, please. And then you may 'hear' the nudge: ‘Then just be. Help shoulder the grief, and the pain, and the heartache as it begins to spill.’ And you do. You can be the sounding board or the answerer of hard questions. You can be the one cooking meals, or filling the tank with gas, spiritually or otherwise. You get to be a constant of love, support, protection and honesty. Each is key. And so is GET. It is a privilege to serve, and to bear witness to a friend in the delicate space of such vulnerability. (Privilege- not a right.) It is a precious gift to walk with them a mile in their journey.
Parting words: Be good to each other. That includes you. You matter. Be good stewards of love, hope, and your time. Be open to finding beauty in ALL things, even painful ones. It’s OK to start slow. Celebrate everything. Small wins are still wins, and still deserve a party. Even if it’s just a party in your heart, or coffee with a friend. Believe that someone out there has the right words to share with you if you are having a hard day. AND- you likely are someone else’s saving grace on another day, so don’t guard your words too closely. We’re in this together.