We filed into the quiet church, some of us hand-in-hand. One by one we came and sat with the rest of our group. We were overjoyed to see each other, all smiles, hugs, and leg pats, even though we’d seen each other just days before. As one, then another, and another joined our ranks, emotion rose from deep within me and tears sprang to my eyes. We were together, not for a happy occasion or to critique each other’s writing, but to support one of our dear writing sisters at her husband’s memorial service.
I was struck by how the very presence of these beloved friends was comfort in itself. There was no doubt I could get through anything, anything with these women by my side. And long before we came together that day, we’d been together in heart, lifting our sweet, grieving Donna up in our prayers. We’d visited her at the hospital as she sat by her husband’s bedside, left love offerings at her doorstep, signed cards, sprayed her weeds, and gathered collective gifts to try to express our deep love for her. We tried to show her how much she means to us and that she’s not alone in her grief.
Sometimes, words aren’t enough even for those of us who consider ourselves wordsmiths. So we came. We hugged. We sat. We called. We prayed. We cried. We hoped. Ultimately we thanked God for a life well lived and a devoted marriage that lasted 54 years. And now we help our friend learn to live as a widow. Some in our ranks already started this journey years ago when their husbands died. I simply marvel at their strength and hope I’ll do as well when it’s my turn to grieve.
I have no doubt Donna will be just fine. Her faith is strong, her family near. But her girlfriends from her writers critique group who are “doing life together” with her are here, too. Doing life together. Doing death together. And doing everything in between together. It’s a sweet life and I’m so thankful and blessed to have such a close circle of friends to do life with until death do us part.
How have you supported friends through grief? How have you been supported in times of grief?