Love, loss, and the holidays.
Last night, I received a call from my dear friend, Jane. When I answered the phone, I knew immediately something was wrong. She was crying, and she said through her tears that someone had died, but I didn’t understand her the first time she said it. Painfully, I had to ask her to repeat it. And when she did, I cried too. I didn’t know the gentleman who had passed away, but I knew of him, and I knew him to be a good soul…a good friend to Jane. I also know she had inadvertently made a connection between him and a lady she knows just a few months ago. She had introduced them through some work she was doing, and a great friendship formed immediately.
His new lady friend was with him when he fell ill. She called 911 immediately and called a mutual friend who was a doctor, and they got him to the hospital as quickly as they could, but he didn’t make it.
When Jane was telling me about what had happened, she said, “I just needed to call you, because I need you to say something that will make it OK.” Jane is a close family friend. She knew my mother, who passed away four years ago, and she knows that somehow, my mother always knew the right thing to say to make someone feel better. She knew what to say to bring peace to a situation. Hopefully, with age, I will develop that gift, but I certainly don’t feel like I have it now. I simply said to Jane, “This won’t make it OK, but you can thank the Lord that you introduced those two and they were able to enjoy each other’s company for the past couple of months. You can know he [the gentleman who passed] spent the last couple of months engaging in good conversation and having fun with his new friend.” It was all I knew to say. I don’t know that it helped my friend in the moment, but it really does warm my heart that he got to spend his final months with a special lady…someone who is near and dear to Jane, and therefore, near and dear to me. I can’t name names, but all of these wonderful people are oddly connected…people you wouldn’t think belong together as friends, but somehow, they do.
Jane later told me the gentleman told her a few days ago that his new friend (the one Jane introduced him to) had helped him learn how to live for the Lord. Maybe that’s why they were brought together. I told Jane that is what should make her feel better…knowing she brought them together.
December is a tough month for a lot of people…including me. I lost my mother on December 30, 2017. She had fallen ill on Christmas Eve and never recovered, but Jane was with me every day at the hospital while Mother was lingering. I miss Mother every day, and especially this time of year. Sadly, both my grandmothers died on December 26, in different years, but still…same day. My daddy didn’t die in December, but he had his first obvious symptoms of pancreatic cancer in December 2005 and died the following October.
So while December is a joyous time, it’s also tough for people who have lost loved ones during the year. It’s tough for those of us who have painful memories. Yes, I have lots of good December memories too, but I’ll never forget all the terrible phone calls I have received in various Decembers.
I will give a few extra hugs on into the new year. I will try to think of those friends and family who have experienced loss. Some of those friends are experiencing their first holiday season without a loved one. There’s not anything we can say to “make it OK,” but there are things we can do to ease the pain a little. Hugs go a long way, and they are almost always welcome and appreciated.