Dear ………. ,
I thought your mom’s memorial service was beautiful and such a wonderful reflection of her. I hope that you and your siblings left the church today seeing her a little differently than before, more through the eyes of so many of us who love her. I say LOVE in the present tense because I will always love your mom. She was my dearest friend and one of life’s greatest gifts to me.
You have so many of her wonderful qualities and I am proud of you for that. I know how much of a help you’ve been around the house lately and it takes a special person to take on those responsibilities at your age. Keep up the good work, support your dad, and love your brothers and sister. Those are the things your mom would want from you ……
This is a note I sent to the teenage daughter of my friend last weekend, as she, her siblings and her dad are trying to start a new life after losing a wife and mother to metastatic melanoma.
I’ve read quite a few blog posts from young moms recently about how hard it can be to find friends. And I thought today, looking at it from the perspective of spending many great years raising kids together as neighbors, friends, and family, that I would like to share my friend experience with you.
I did the same things as you, always too busy or too tired to make a true connection with anyone. I knew lots of people, but knowing them and really knowing them are two different things. And the scheduled play dates and mom’s night out happy hours didn’t do a thing for me in building real relationships.
And there was a time several years back that my loneliness hurt so much that I started praying for a real friend, more than just someone to sit at kid games with or someone to keep me company while our kids played.
Then out of the blue, one day picking up the boys after school, a crazy friendly gal started talking to me like she had known me forever. And she was a part of my days ever since. Several times over the years she told me that God told her we would be friends. And I would’ve never believed that had she not been the answer to my prayer.
We spent holidays and family weekends together. We helped in sickness and kid frustrations and last minute forgotten recipe ingredients. We talked and texted and called throughout the day – because in a friendship, the little stuff matters as much as the big. And no matter what or where or who since that first day, she continually promised me through her presence that a friend loves at all times.
But today I feel lost. And I feel sad and mad at the circumstance of having to say goodbye to her. And a whole lot of me feels scared that I’ll never not feel sad again. And even more scared that I’ll never find a friend like her again.
I was her acting secretary for the past few weeks of her illness, trying my best to do something when there wasn’t much anyone could do. So I answered texts and calls and sent out updates on her condition. And I organized and planned and kept busy till this past weekend when we celebrated her life. And then I came home and cried all over again trying to figure out what to do next. This is where you would nominate this post as the saddest thing ever written on a mom blog.
But y’all it’s real. And it’s been very real this past week watching my youngest one cry over the loss of someone he knew and loved as his own friend as well. And I can’t help but think that part of him worries that if she can die, can his own mom die too? That’s something I really have to give some special attention to.
I have to figure out where I fit into her family now. What are my responsibilities there? To her? Are there any? Or is it just me still trying to figure out what to do when not much can be done.
Her kids are teenagers and young adults, old enough to understand death – but still young enough to miss their mom in a way that can be a life changing grief for a young heart.
I’ve seen people offering to step in to help – mostly asking what the kids need. But what I see are kids that don’t need much of anything other than time to realize that their lives are about to change. They don’t understand that yet.
And my own son, Kid 3, has needed me and his dad more these last days than he has for a while. It reminds me of the newness of little ones starting school for the first time and trying to learn that mom will still be there when he gets back.
So for now I tell her kids and mine that it’s normal to cry. And that it’s okay. And it’s okay to be sad, but that you don’t have to be that way all the time. I also tell them that there will be a day when they won’t feel like this so much anymore.
And someday I’ll feel like starting the hunt for a new best friend. I’m already praying about that.