It was a mere 12 hours after one of my Mom’s oldest and greatest friends took her own life, that I found myself driving to the grocery store with my Mom next to me in the passenger seat. Staring straight ahead, trying to ignore the forced distraction this mundane act and the “new music I just found” playing quietly in the background, I found myself not sure what to say or do.
After shifting the car into park surrounded by families bustling in and out of the automatic doors of this over lit, crowded grocery store, we both take a deep breath and laugh. Who are we kidding? No amount of forced routine trips to the grocery store is going to make this better. No amount of endless driving is going to take her mind off of this. I remember so badly wanting to hug her across the center counsel, hold her hand walking through the parking lot and tell her all the things I so wish she could believe. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.
I would come to the realization minutes later standing in the checkout line with about 20% of the things we actually needed (Dad can live without batteries today), that it’s not about what you do or don’t say. It’s not about the amount of hugs you give or how many times the phone rings with someone on the other end sending condolences. I realized this as I focused my eyes on the gray tiled floor of this suddenly very crowded store, trying my hardest to ignore the growing lump in my throat and the tears forming in my eyes. I realized this when I looked up and noticed my Mom silently wiping the tears from her cheeks. How crazy we must have looked- two women silently crying in the checkout line.
In times of unrelenting grief and sadness, it’s easy to not know what to do next. To not know what to say…sometimes it’s best to not say anything at all. Time will heal, grief will subside and guilt will fade away. But when it comes down to it, it’s all about presence. Who is there when there is nothing to say? Who is there to listen when we are trying to make sense of it all? Who is there to cry with you in line at the grocery store?
That’s what is important. That’s what matters most.