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grieving

Grieving and Tent Poles

funerals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went to a funeral this morning. The priest compared the process of grieving to tent poles because my friend’s husband, the deceased, was an avid camper.

She explained that it is always very difficult to pitch a tent successfully without all of the tent poles. Sometimes, you open the bag and find out there is one missing. Sometimes, unfortunately, they are all missing. But most of the time, there’s another camper nearby who is willing to give up a tent pole to help a fellow camper. And hopefully, other campers follow suit until you have the tent poles you need.

We were encouraged to be the tent poles for the grieving family. Be there to ground them, support them, hold them up, and make them feel safe. The analogy was visually perfect for me. I imagined a tent without its poles and saw collapse, struggle, and imbalance. I even envisioned the tent flying away in the wind, with us there to bring it back down.

From the expression on my friend’s face during this colorful analogy, it was clear that she could see some of the same things. She liked the thought of having tent poles. She smiled at the idea. Hopefully, if only for a moment, she felt her poles, those people who care for her, holding up her tent and surrounding her with love .

“Hello, friend. “

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Those will forever be two of the most significant words I have ever heard. Anyone following me since February knows that I lost a young, dear friend on February 6th. Those were some of her last words to me. I had called her, pretty frazzled about something, hoping she could help, and that’s how she answered the phone. I took a moment to thank her for greeting me that way. I needed the kindness in her voice and words.

At her funeral, I spoke about what she said to me and the significance it will always have. It made perfect sense. She was a friend to everyone she met. The loss of her still hurts. In fact, it is still a quite unbelievable.

The decor pictured above hangs in my bedroom. I see it and think of her several times a day. I made it a few weeks after she died, when I could finally do it without crying.

Stay tuned for part two.

Part two.

Harisa died two days before my daughter’s 2nd birthday. I had about 80 people coming over for a party. My in-laws, parents, sister, and other relatives were all either in town or on their way. I was a zombie. I couldn’t think straight to save my life. I had so much to do and absolutely no interest in doing it. Party details fell by the wayside, but I didn’t care. It was definitely one of those times that reminds you of what is truly important.

I almost took my mother in law’s head off at one point. She was being her usual pushy, jabbering self, and went way too far. I wanted to say, “Do you know that my friend died yesterday?”  I chose to leave the room instead and go collect myself. Someone else did the explaining for me.

I got through it. The party was great fun. Harisa would have loved it. And I know she was there, jumping in the bounce house, right along with us.

Part three later.

Part three should have been part two, chronologically. I just decided to change the subject matter and it takes me back a few days.

Harisa (45 yrs old) had a massive stroke on a Sunday. I was informed on Monday. I expected her to recover on Tuesday. Then I went to see her in ICU on Wednesday and was told she had no brain activity.

Her husband, whom I had met maybe once, said to me…

“You must understand that Harisa has already left us. We just need to let her go.”

Thank you, Nedo. I understood.