One of the hardest things about growing older is knowing that the loved ones in your life especially our friends, their parents and our relatives are likely to leave us at some point. Knowing that fact does not make it any easier. Just in the past two weeks, I got the unfortunate news of three people losing their fathers. Each time, I felt a flash of pain for my own loss, which caused me some guilt as it was so not about me. But I also know because of my experience some of their feelings, and instead of just doing platitudes, I take more action, more time to be around them, more effort to support them in their process.
Words are easy. Actions not so much. We can all say all the right things with just the tone needed, but it is in these times when doing means more. It can be picking up the phone, listening to them or just being present in their company. Sometimes a body in the vicinity can do more than to have the person repeat their story of loss. It can provide the comfort that hey you are not alone in this. Times like this, not much needs to be done except to ensure the person feels heard or comforted. Again not with words because let’s be real, too often, things are said because they are proper, but if we fail to empathize than they are meaningless letters.
I wish people didn’t lose loved ones. I so wish I had more time with my father. The two feelings can exist. I pray often that my aunt no longer coughs anymore and that my uncles gets to lay in bed and relax as he loved to, and that my friends father is at peace and loving her from above. Part fantasy, part wishful thinking but mostly a desperation that this roller coaster of life just would prepare us better, given us more warnings, more reminders to spend time with the ones we care for.
This part of growing up sucks. I look at Zyan, and I know he will see maybe a larger share of this because we stated later. Already he has not had chance to meet one of his grandfathers, and grand uncles and aunts, and it hits me that we get to ensure he experiences love the way we did from so many. That he spends time with the ones that matter to us, and knows the value of friendship, family and fraternity, that it’s not just about material things but the people who matter most. If he ends up feeling as rich as I do in relationships then I know I have done my job.