Sunday, September 30, 2012

Being a friend for the "after"

I have a few friends in the midst of serious medical issues with loved ones. I see so many people reaching out via social media, offering kind words, prayers, and virtual hugs. Often, a question is repeated, "how can I help?"

Those words bring me back to a time where I was the person disseminating news of a dear loved one's trauma and recovery. I was being asked, "how can we help?". Sometimes, a tangible answer would arise out of a current need - a lunch here, a phone call there. But most of the time, we simply asked for positive thoughts and prayers.

When a crisis happens, a crowd of caring people rises up to voice their concern, share their support, and to offer assistance.

Inevitably, the cacophony of voices will quiet over the passing days or weeks. People will continue with their own hectic lives and eventually only the core players, the immediate family, will be left in the 24-hour effort to heal and move forward.

When our family was in crisis mode, we held tight to one another as we waited, watched, and cheered on each small increment of success. It was in those "after" days that the kind words of friends helped so much. We felt joy and peace, simply knowing that our dearest people did remember our plight. We were not as alone as we felt. Not forgotten.

So to my friends near and far in challenging situations, I remember. I am still thinking of you. I understand how it feels when the world lumbers on when you cannot. 

And to anyone who hopes to support a friend going through something tough, do not forget the "after". Make an effort to check in, to remind them that the support, although quieter, still remains with you. 
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