You heard some bad news from a friend, relative, social media, church or maybe in a gossip circle. However you heard, you immediately felt bad, asked how to help, donated time, food, money or prayers. Whatever you did, the family was grateful, even if they didn't say it. They were blessed by your gifts.
Life goes back to normal. The family sits on your heart. You pray, you ask, you follow the updates. You did what you could.
One day, you heard the really bad news: Death won and a family lost. Forever.
Once again, you prayed, you helped, gave what you could. Even if you didn't know it, the family was thankful for you, your help, your prayers, your love and your support.
You attended the funeral, cried some real tears, laughed some real laughs, enjoyed the memories of the one who is gone. Finally, you hugged the ones who lost the most.
Once the funeral was over and the day was done, you went home. Back to life, back to love, back to those who make your world complete. You went to a funeral, and then you went home.
We all lose, but someone that day, went to a funeral and didn't want to go home.
Someone that day, drove home to the couch, the bed, the house that is forever empty. Life is not like it once was and never will be again. Where there was once laughter, sits an empty chair. The couch is bigger, the blankets and pillows are extra. There are empty shoes, clothes, toiletries that might never be used. Bags sit. Drugs disposed. So much to do and SO MANY MEMORIES left to be remembered, processed and grieved.
Time passes and the wounds are not healed. Sometimes, life feels normal and OK. Then a birthday, holiday, celebration occurs and the loss is real all over again. Sometimes life is normal, and for no reason at all, the LOSS comes right back, like it happened again.
There is loneliness, emptiness and tears. "Public faces" put on a show, and comfort the ones who interact. "Home faces" are real, raw and honest. There are headaches, stomachaches and countless mistakes made all because the grief lives in place of the person who completed a family. Not to mention the questions, the hurt, the anger that sits because it is hard to face.
Days pass, holidays pass, milestones completed the grief lives, despite how the family looks in public. Remember, it's a face, a show, an act, it's not always real; however, it's not always fake.
When you go to a funeral, and are allowed to go home to life, remember that at least one person goes home to a new life that was NOT asked for, but handed to them. Give those people more than sympathy or judgement; give them an endless amount of time to grieve in their own way. For that one act of kindness and grace, they will be forever grateful for you.
Courtney is a mom, teacher, photographer, writer and dreamer. Visit www.oursmallmoments.com.