Grief’s gaze. I knew it as soon as I got it this week. It’s that look you get from someone who has just suffered a new great loss. It conveys so much with so little. It’s so very different from the look they give to others all around them. Yeah it’s quite a powerful look and you totally get it.
You remember being there yourself. Instantly you are transported back to your beginning, back to your first few days. It’s been years and it hits like it was just yesterday. Those first days of seeing the world from under water because the tears just won’t stop. Not sure what you’re doing in the next minute let alone tomorrow or next week. Begging for the universe to throw you a line so you can anchor to anything and stop the spinning even for just a moment. You search the crowd and you see a lighthouse – A person that understands and can help you try and make some sense of it all. You gaze at them in hopes they can ground you. Then suddenly you’re snapped back to the present and standing in front of you is your friend who has made his way over to you and you realize you’re his lighthouse.
How do I explain it? They know that you have suffered a difficult loss. They know that, of everyone in the room, it’s you who understands where they are in this exact moment. It’s you who knows what the first few days of the grief journey feels like. It’s you who has made it past this initial stage of shock and knows what it’s like to walk forward. It’s you, standing there as living proof that they can survive this stage. It’s you that now represents their future. It’s you they can talk to because you get it. You provide safe harbor. You’ve become the keeper of the lighthouse.
It’s not a position you ever thought you’d be in but here you are a light in the dark for those new to sailing the storm. You just never know who will need your light whatever their grief may be…
“Hey. Thank you for all of this you guys did for us. It’s perfect. “
“No thanks needed. We just want to help in anyway we can. If nothing else this gives you a break from all the crazy the past few days. You guys can just walk around, enjoy the beach and eat a relaxing meal.”
“Yeah. It’s a lot. All these people here. It’s going to be harder though when they are all gone and back to life. ”
“I completely understand. My loss is different but I get it. The first few days is a whirlwind but it hits when everyone leaves and you’re in your new normal. It’s good though that you have your wife and that your family lives here. That will help with the navigating. I’m really sorry you lost your son…”