Updated: Mar 15
It was a sunny afternoon. I was at a baseball game when my head turned and for a quick moment our eyes met. Not a stranger, instead a woman whose family I knew of from town. Her son played in the same in-town recreation organization as mine did. Her husband was a coach. My husband was a coach too. She was at the baseball field this one particular afternoon watching her son play ball, alone. Her husband had recently passed away. The dad of her 4 beautiful children. I wanted to share my condolences with her but we didn’t know each other personally so I thought maybe it would be best if I said nothing. Little did I know that my decision that day to ignore this opportunity would be something that I would think about often with great regret. My cowardly decision to bypass the discomfort of bringing up a very difficult subject. One that was filled with so much sadness and pain. Making the decision that because she didn’t know me well, I shouldn’t intrude on such a private matter. I forgave myself for not doing the right thing that sunny afternoon. For not sharing my heartfelt sorrow for the loss of her husband and the loss of her children’s father. I realized that it didn’t matter how little we knew each other. I’m a person that has felt the profound healing compassion provides. I was also a mom and a wife too. I could never have imagined what would happen next. Almost exactly 7 years later, I would also lose my husband and the father to our four children. I was now her. The woman at the field. Like her, I was watching all the other kids on the baseball field whose dads were coaching them or cheering them on from the bleachers. Silently wishing that my kids could hear the same enthusiasm and encouragement from their dad. Wishing that the opportunity to show up for them wasn’t taken so early and unfairly. Understanding that a thoughtful “I’m so sorry for your loss” or a warm gentle touch, even from complete strangers, has the enormous ability to mend even the tiniest shards of a heart that is broken in a million pieces. I now know, not only from remorse but from personal experience, the importance of sharing kindness and love with a person who is grieving a loss. I now know that while someone is getting knocked over by grief our words and our thoughtful actions have the ability to pick them back up even if for only a moment. I now know that we are not reminding a griever that their loved one is gone but instead raising hope in their heart that love surrounds them. I now know that all of the above, especially and in particular, hope, acts as a bridge that helps us get to the other side of grief and pain.