small pieces of joy

pieces of joy in each day

presence

on November 12, 2013

This post is not really a small thing, but just a reflection I’ve been wanting to write for a while.

I came across this article a few weeks ago, probably posted on someone’s Facebook. It is from NPR and titled Always Go to the Funeral. This piece spoke so true after just experiencing my father’s visitation and funeral weeks before.

I have never been good at responding to people who are grieving. I didn’t know what to say or even if sending a card would matter, so I didn’t say or do anything. When the opportunity to go to a funeral arose, I’d find a way to say that I didn’t know them very well, or it wouldn’t matter if I was there.

It actually does matter. It matters a lot.

When my heart was bleeding tears before my dad’s visitation I felt lost, alone, and discouraged. I didn’t even want to face the people who were there to comfort us. But as the line grew and the hugs and shared tears surfaced, I was more aware than ever of the love that was there for my family.

Every face I saw that night is etched in my memory. Even in the midst of tremendous grief, I was fully aware of who was there and most importantly deeply touched that people would stand in line for a long time just to see me. Just to say hi or give a hug or just stand there speechless. It didn’t matter what was said it only mattered that they were there.

I still have the image of the long line of people in the church, and I still hear the stories of the line continuing outside the church and around the corner. I saw people I hadn’t seen in years and those I just saw earlier that day. All people who felt awkward and in their own grief, but came anyway.

I will always remember looking back at the caravan of cars after the funeral, continually turning onto Pflumm road, wondering if we had enough police escorts. And seeing the continual line of cars parking at the cemetery. I will always feel the warm embrace of the crowd around the gravesite as we prayed over Dad at his resting place.

After I had scraped myself off the ground from sitting and crying next to Dad, I walked to the car where a semi-circle of people stood. My friends. I will NEVER forget how I felt the love from them wash over my pain. We didn’t say much, just a line of hugs and that was that. But I will always remember that. Always.

I just wanted to share these thoughts to give you insight as to how your presence at the time of a person’s grieving is so very important. It is never going to be comfortable. Death sucks. And the pain that comes with it sucks. But what is even worse is feeling that you are alone in the suckiness. (I tried to find a word more qualified, but sucks really sums up how I feel right now.)

So if you are able, go to the funeral. Go to the visitation. Say something to the family. Do something for the family. Let them know that you are thinking of them and want to embrace them where they are at that moment. Sadness and all. These things have made all the difference in helping me deal with my grief and I think it does for others, too.

Alone we suffer quietly. Together we can get through anything.

Thank you to all those who are supporting my family in our grief. We are forever grateful.

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3 responses to “presence

  1. Anonymous says:

    Kari – this is truly one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. I think it should be published. Your ability to touch hearts through your skill as a writer is a gift. Your Daddy would be so very, very proud. Anne O’B

    Like

  2. Keith Kennedy says:

    The part about the prosession to the cemetery and the burial is spot on. I will never forget it. So we are writing a book yea?

    Like

  3. Anne Wanamaker says:

    Words from the heart!
    Such truth in these words, Kari!
    Everyone needs to read them!!!!
    Love you, sweetie. ♡♡♡

    Like

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