Sad News

I received a phone call this evening from a dear, close friend of mine that his mother passed away unexpectedly. I was in shock. I couldn't speak. She had always been the nicest, most inviting person she could be to me. She had treated me like close family. And now she has passed.

I didn't know what to say to my friend. Is there anything "right" to say? People say it's important to be there for the person, and I very much wanted to be that for him. But somehow, I wonder if I failed him.

A month ago, another dear friend of mine came to me because a close friend of hers had lost his mother. She was upset, and I wanted to convey I was there for her, but at the time I wasn't able to. If it's true that what you say isn't important, what if you fail to let someone know you are there? To be what they need in that moment. That is why she came to me? It has bothered me to this day that I couldn't be what she needed me to be. Sure, I know she knows I support her. But in that moment, I had missed the mark.

I trust that I was able to support my friend this evening. And as much as I want to be a supportive friend, I also want to celebrate my memories of his mother. Because she was a dear, sweet person.

When we were younger, she would take us to work with her at the university and my friend and I would have adventures. She let us camp out in the front yard. She was compassionate about animals, especially horses, and she raised several on her farm. She had a curiosity about the world and wasn't afraid to get in there and experience what she could. She believed in her community and was a strong supporter of the needs of her town. She had a passion for preserving the culture and history of Native Americans. It was because of her that I learned more about the traditions of the Apache. I was even able to spend time with a descendant of the Chiricahua war chief, Cochise. She welcomed him and his family into her house just like she had me for all these years. I hadn't seen her in many years, so I feel blessed to have visited with her last March on my trip to Arizona.

Unfortunately, she had severe asthma all her life. And it finally took her away. But I believe she has left the world a better place. She made her family and her community better than they could be without her. I know she has inspired others to do the same. And that is all any of us can ask for in this life.

So to my dear friend, I will always be there for you. However you need me to be there. Just call on me.

And to you, Sue. I am better for having known you. Thank you.


Allie D. said...

Chris -- this was an incredibly moving tribute to the mother of your friend. There is nothing sadder than a someone losing his or her mother much too soon... Although I don't think there is ever a "right" time for such a tragic event.

S Dub said...

Hey Chris,

I'm really sorry to hear about your friend's mom -- I had no idea! You're a really great friend and listener though, so I'm sure your friend felt supported. Losing a parent is one of the hardest things and the truth is there's nothing anyone can say or do to make the situation any better (I know this from experience). I'm confident your friend is just comforted in knowing you're there if he needs to talk :)

Pawlie Kokonuts said...

I agree with the previous commenters. Your being there can take many forms -- maybe being there in the best way is to listen and say nothing (which I often fail at. Your compassion is clear. And your love for this person -- and her loved ones -- is also clear.