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Friday, October 15, 2010


"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares."

- Henri Nouwen

Wow! Isn't that powerful and thought provoking- and SO true! It is hard to really just BE with someone who is in pain and not feel the need to talk through it or offer condolences. It has been interesting to see how people have reacted to me in my "time of mourning". The friends who I thought would be right there at my beck and call, now suddenly stand back in the shadows, rarely making contact, afraid to reach out (probably more so because of their own issues than mine) and the people who were periphery friends now step up to the plate and jump in full force ready to help and often checking in when I least expect it.

I have no judgment of either group, for I have been on both sides of the grief journey more than once. I understand the lack of understanding and the not knowing what to do or say in certain situations. I understand what it's like to have questions but be afraid to ask or pry. I know how uncomfortable it is to be with someone and bear witness to their pain and not be able to help.

I've heard it said that people come into our lives to teach us lessons, and they leave when the lesson has been learned. I guess there is no better time to learn some lessons than now. I am saddened to think that some people will slowly disappear from my life because they knew me through Andie and now there is not that connection anymore, yet I understand that it is also the natural course of things. In a way I welcome the reprieve from some people whose relationship feels like an obligation or something that must be maintained, to make way for new friends who bring fulfillment to my life. On the other hand, I don't want to lose any connection to what my life with Andie used to be.

I wonder what lessons I've learned from those who will now fade from my life, and what lessons I've imparted to them. I'm excited to think about what new things I will learn from those making more of an appearance in my life. While I am afraid of my future for the first time in my life, I am also curious and hopeful about what it will bring.


  1. Brook, I am learning some lessons from your blog. One is that we need to realize that we are all struggling one way or another; can only hope and pray that we can always be available to one who needs us no matter how clumsy and hesitant we are. God bless.

  2. I love how completely honest you're being- with yourself and us. I think it will prove to be cathartic. (At least I hope it will be.) And for the record, it takes a good friend to know one...