Watching ripples in social media can be mesmerizing.
One moment, you’ll be scrolling down your feed and the next a particular post catches your eye.
Then another, about the same thing and eventually your feed is flooded about how someone misses a recently departed and dearly loved friend.
It’s in those moments that you’re reminded of humanity.
Social media, which is a giant collage of different people’s thoughts, opinions and interests sometimes becomes united behind one person that they all know and miss.
Being inside that whirlwind of emotion, all you can see is that person’s face engraved in your memory and then you read all that everyone else has to say and you continue to see that person another minute longer as if you’re observing them through transparent walls.
On the outside, you see many friends all talking about how fast life can pass away, and it’s true, it’s here out of nowhere and gone in an instant.
I can’t stand to see people in pain, especially since it was only a little over a year ago when I lost a dear friend of mine, someone I would say was a good friend of mine.
Empathy tells me that I need to feel your pain and in order to do that, to dive into the last time I was wearing your shoes, but the truth is that I need to be here, outside of that emotion to give you insight into this tragedy that just hit you.
So, I won’t go into detail to feed your pain, but I will touch on what might just help you get through this.
First off, understand that I am here with you, ready to support you, even if I don’t know what’s going on with you yet or am able to weep with you over a loss.
Second of all, remember that you’re not alone. When you lose someone, reach out to someone who has also lost that person and mutually strengthen yourselves. Don’t forget to mourn losses or you’ll carry it with you longer than you need to carry it.
You might need to understand what’s about to happen, so I’ll tell you.
When I lost my good friend Kent, I didn’t know how to feel.
I felt numb and guilty for feeling numb.
If you’re feeling numb, it’s not apathy, it’s the shock and it will pass.
One day, you might find yourself unable to focus suddenly at your job.
You might go to the bathroom and start crying and if you haven’t figured it out yet, it’s that shock and it just started wearing off.
Regardless of whether you feel the sadness the day of or the next week, you need to take time to let the reality hit you so that it can pass.
You might try to find your find your fault in the incident because you want to believe that something could’ve changed the fact that you’ve lost a friend.
I lost mine to suicide and I wanted so much to blame myself for not hanging out with him the summer before, but the truth is that most of the time there’s nothing you could’ve done.
Whether it was by accident or by choice or other means, they are no longer here.
Don’t let it stay with you the rest of the summer.
Remember that everything ends.
Nothing lasts forever and you just got a reminder.
It could’ve been you and it could’ve been me.
A lot of people reached out to me after my we all found out about our vacancy in the pictures that we had of him.
I appreciated the efforts that everyone put into encouraging me and into just being a friend during that time, but my feelings stayed the same.
But, every time I talked to someone about it, a little bit of the burden fell off and a sliver of the stress melted away.
To those who have a friend going through a loss, you can’t convince them not to grieve.
You can remind them that you are with them in their grief, you can go to them and just sit silently in their room with them, you can pray for them, you can do so many things, but don’ expect a change in them overnight.
With consistency, you will help them through this crisis.
Your presence will outweigh your words and their potency.
The smallest acts of kindness and consideration go further and last longer in the thought than trying to make it “all better” in one sitting.
There’s no easy fix, for the mourner and the joiner, but together, we’ll get through this.