When is water no longer wet?
When does sweet lose its taste?
When do happiness and joy no longer feel like the best feelings one could ever have?
Loss can take a lot of that away. Loss can rob us of all of life’s meaning and pleasure, those feelings that are so critical to who we are and the smiles we have on our faces.
It is so easy to look across the street and say, “They have it so much better than me,” or “No one REALLY understands what I am dealing with.”
But, in reality, none of us really know what that person or people are dealing with. Even if you have gone through the same loss, the experience will be completely different for each of us.
“Jeremy,” my friend called and said the other day. I could hear in his voice that something was very off.
“Hey man, what’s going on?” I said, a sinking feeling in my stomach.
“I didn’t want to share this, but my wife has Metastatic bladder cancer. We are canceling all our plans for travel to deal with this,” he went on.
I was stunned but managed to respond, “What do you need, and how can I help?”
“If the surgery we have planned does make sense to proceed, given the degree of the cancer, my wife will not likely go forward with it,” he said.
“Jeremy, she is going to die,” he wept.
All I could do was listen as he asked me to help organize his investments and insurance policies. The advisor he used was not responding, and he didn’t have the energy to go through it all alone.
“Can you help me, please?” he asked.
“Send me everything. I am here,” I said without hesitation.
I tried to think of something comforting to say, something that could ease his pain.
Then I realized I already had.
Sometimes in life, we just have to be there. That’s enough.
Just answer the phone and listen.
It’s often so easy to forget that sometimes, others that we interact with day to day are in pain. But we don’t know theirs, and they don’t know ours.
People are in their own thoughts; they may be in a dark place, and we can’t take it personally.
But, as a good friend, we can just try to be there – be the one they know they can call – and just ask how you can help.
Sometimes, that is all you can do.