When I became a teenager, I felt like I was a member of a new and important club. I liked the privileges that came with being a teenager.
Later as a college student, bride, and mother, I felt a similar sense of welcome and belonging.
Though sad, when I had a miscarriage, I knew what others in that "club" had experienced, and despite the sadness, there was a sense of gratitude that I could relate to others who had experienced such a sad event.
Now, since the death of my brother, I realize I belong to another group of people, those who have experienced a loss of someone close to them. Although I have experienced losses before, I have not experienced a loss this close to me. It's amazing to think that I've lived for almost sixty years without this experience, and it's both humbling and extraordinary to realize the kindness and love shown by others who are sensitive to this experience, people who know that a card, email, kind words, flowers, donations, their presence and other gifts of acknowledgement and sensitivity really do bring peace and comfort at a time like this.
My initial reaction is to feel guilty in the face of all this kindness as I wonder if I've been there for those people or done what I could when they faced great sadness or challenge. Yet, until you have an experience or experiences that awaken you to this part of life, it's difficult to understand just what it's like. My brother's life left me with many, many lessons including the lesson that reaching out in even the smallest way brings comfort to those who face struggles, challenges, and loss. I am grateful for this gift of increased empathy and understanding, one that brings to light the Rumi quote I recently heard, a quote I keep returning to: "The wound is the place where the light enters you." How profound, and how perfect for this moment in time.
So in summary, I am ever so thankful to the many out there who have used their experiences of grief and knowledge of comfort to reach out and comfort me and my family at this time. It means so much to me, and it is my hope that I can use this great demonstration of love to better love and care for those around me. With Gratitude.