A friend of mine lost his father today.
I didn't know the father at all, but for whatever reason, this death is really wreaking havoc with my emotions. I'm feeling the NF in my INFP personality, and it's hurting my heart. The truth is that this gentleman was elderly and in poor health, and his death was not at all unexpected. And in many ways, his death may be a relief for his family--the end of suffering for him and long days of worry for them.
But I barely made it to my car before I started crying.
I've always been awkward about grief. I don't express it well myself except privately. I'm not good at physical touch so feel awkward putting my arm around someone who's crying, or giving hugs. I never know what to say or how to act in the face of others' grief. I can remember even when I was in ninth grade and a fellow missionary kid was killed in a car accident, my friends gathered around me on a blanket spread under a tree, and while they cried, I just felt awkward. My tears came later, and even though I didn't know her well at all, I felt her death deeply. I think of her often. But I never knew what to say, how to act.
And while my amazing mentor Jay died nearly two years, and I have been meaning, wanting, and planning to write to his wife, I haven't done so. What's the use of words?
I'd never bought flowers in sympathy before today. I had no idea what to get, even had to ask the florist. I have no idea what to say in a sympathy card. How can I possibly express in words how deeply my heart hurts? Not possible.
But I'm at home now, alone, and in the absence of others, I don't feel awkward. My heart aches. Maybe this death is just the release I needed to spend some time grieving the loss of a few amazing men in my life whom I haven't really taken time to grieve yet. I have been so busy surviving that perhaps I shoved those deaths down and didn't give them proper time. I not only grieve their deaths but that I didn't get to say a proper goodbye to any but one (a moment I will treasure in my heart always).
I remember when a fellow missionary died several years ago, a friend I barely knew brought me a huge bouquet and a card. And the flowers lasted for three or four weeks in my basement studio apartment. I had been feeling so alone, but she touched my life so briefly but so deeply, just by noticing and acknowledging the hurt.
Maybe my words are meaningless, empty. May God grant me the grace to notice and acknowledge the hurt so that some day in the future, my friend may look back and recognize that he was not alone.