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Friday, May 15, 2015

At a Loss

I have been calling my sister-in-law every evening.  And last night the phone call was so heart wrenching, that I had difficulty sleeping.  I want so much to be comforting, but unfortunately do not know what to say, or do to be a comfort.  And is there any comfort?  I suppose not.  And it is so strange to be in the position that so many of my friends and family have been in for the past 6 years.  I am definitely at a loss.

So I have been thinking about what it means to be sympathetic, empathetic, and how best to comfort.  It is not about giving advice-there really is no advice that you can give a mother who loses a child (or a wife who loses a husband).  And as I often remark-it is not a one size fits all world-so what comforted me-may not comfort her.  But it also isn't something that you can ask about to the person you are trying to comfort.  If you were to ask me - what comforted me when my husband died, or now that I am struggling with the death of my mom, or the death of my niece, I am not sure that I would know.  It certainly will be something I think about.

Can we give lessons in empathy?  Is there a rule book on what to say and how to say it?  I know that my presence is helpful-just be there.  But at what point is more required?

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