Monday, January 10, 2011

I am your friend

This morning I awoke to the news that Tony was gone. After three and a half days in the ICU, he passed quietly, leaving behind a young wife, a three-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter.

This morning I awoke to a world blanketed in snow. The view from my window had been transformed overnight. The boundaries of road and lawn and sidewalk erased by a single sheet of perfect alabaster. Absolute stillness. Life placed on hold.

Schools and businesses shut down. The kids pulled on their snow gear and disappeared outdoors. For two hours they played in the snow. I was left alone in the quiet of the house.

There is a website called Gratefulness.org where you can go and light a candle for Lori. I clicked on the site. I wrote a message by my candle. After lighting the candle, I was asked to take a moment to focus on my message. I closed my eyes and thought of Lori. I started speaking out loud, saying the things I would tell her if I was there with her.

The snow fell softly outside as I sat in the stillness of the house and spoke to Lori. I spoke words of comfort and condolence, but mostly I just said this: I am your friend. As I spoke, I felt the full weight of grief from the last several days come to rest in my heart and I began to cry. Not just cry, but sob.

The word compassion, when broken down to its Latin roots, means “to suffer together with”. By joining another in their grief, we experience the height of what it means to be human, and know for a brief moment the loss of boundary that is the interconnectedness of humanity. This past week I have witnessed that phenomenon on the web as hundreds upon hundreds of people banded together in expressing their love and grief and overwhelming support for Lori and her family.

One paradox of compassion is that the desire to alleviate another’s suffering exists together with the knowledge that we are often helpless to do so. Our gestures feel like drops in the ocean. But I know from my own recent experience that those gestures that seemed insignificant to others were incredibly significant to me. There is healing in community and the expression of love.

Lori, I hope you will draw deeply from this well in the coming weeks and months. It will never run dry. We will fill your cup again and again, as long as you thirst for solace.

*   *   *

You can light your own candle for Lori here.

On Friday I will plan to put up another linky for Lori, where you can attach your posts of condolence, unless Lori decides she is ready to host it herself. She is writing, as she feels moved. We will wait and see what each day brings.





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39 comments:

  1. A truly touching dedication, you have moved me to tears. Am heartbroken for Lori and her family xx

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  2. Thank you for sharing this site.
    I've felt a bit like I was grappling in the dark for positive ways to show my support for Lore and Lori, this is definitely something that I can do.

    Felicity x

    PS As Donna has said, you have written a beautiful dedication to our blogging friend.

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  3. I a moved by your words - by this outpouring of compassion for your friend.

    Grief is such a private matter, and you are correct - when we are on the outside of someone else's grief, when we feel so deeply for them, yet so helpless, we must remind ourselves that our words...our support...do indeed matter more than we could possibly know.

    I will be sure to keep your friend and her family in my prayers this evening and will take comfort in the knowledge that she has such special people in her life to help see her though.

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  4. Oh Kristin, beautifully expressed. I did the same thing last night, when I lit my candle. It truly is wonderful to know, that in some small way, each of us is helping Lori.

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  5. Thank you for providing the link to the site. I, too, have lit a candle for Lori.

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  6. Thank you for posting the link to Gratefulness.org. When I feel that I'm too far away or didn't know her well enough to know what to offer, it is good to have something concrete to do.

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  7. You've said it all, Kristin. And most poignantly. In times like these, where people seem to suspend all preconceived notions to simply feel from their true hearts, great gifts do happen. I am continuing to hold Lori and her family in my thoughtful prayer.

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  8. Hi, Kristin, How do I get one of those "Donate to Lori" widgets for my site?
    Thanks for this heartfelt post and the FYBF one, too. blessings on your day!

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  9. Just heartbreaking, heartbreaking news.
    Thinking of Lori.
    Thank you Kristen for this post.
    x

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  10. Heart breaking news. Beautiful words. 2011 has started on such a rough road for so many people I know. Here's praying that what lies ahead for the rest f this year is filled with only peace and for all of us.

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  11. So beautifully written Kristin. You have such a way of putting thoughts and feelings into words. Thank you. Also, thanks for the link to Gratefulness.org, I just lit a candle for Lori too.

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  12. Beautiful words K. Thank you.xxx

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  13. I am so sorry for Lori and her family. It is so sad. Love and prayers are sent her way.

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  14. You are just the most beautiful and moving writer. Thanks for being in our lives, Kristin. x

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  15. @ Karen, the paypal widget was down briefly but is now working again. I am happy to send you (or anyone) the code. Just email me at kb(at)flaghussy(dot)com and I'll send it right to you. Thanks, xx

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  16. Beautiful, K. I thought of you last night, so far away and knew you would be feeling such grief and helplessness. I know that your words will bring such comfort to her - she is priveleged to call you friend.

    My love to you, Kristin.

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  17. @ Melissa, thank you love. I am priveleged to call you friend as well. xo

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  18. Thanks, Kristin. You express so well what many of us think. I lit my own candle yesterday and was surprised by the grief I felt for someone I hardly know. The only thing I know is the loss.

    I thought of you and of me, of all us united in our own grief, in our own losses. I guess it takes a lot of drops to make up the ocean of compassion that is carrying all of us along, supporting us, keeping us afloat...

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  19. I am sure this will reach Lori. maybe not today but she wrote she was reading and this will be one of the many beautiful messages her FRIENDS left her. it's very touching, Kristin x

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  20. Thank you Kristin, this is beautifully written and beautifully felt. What a wonderful friend you are to Lori.

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  21. I too had myself a long cry for Lori this morning.

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  22. You are doing a wonderful thing, Kristin, for all the compassion in the world means nothing if there is no place to send it, collect it and pass it on to the soul of the one in need. You have helped us all reach Lori in her time, when she needs it most.
    Thank you for being that vessel.
    Nx

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  23. You are a wonderful friend to Lori. I never knew of her before your initial post about the situation - but my heart breaks for her and her family. Thank you for encouraging people like me to send a thought, a hug, a lit candle... reassuring us that it does make a difference.

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  24. Oh Kristin, this is the most beautiful post. The most beautiful one i've read.
    I lit a candle for Lori, and although i am not a religious person, i found it an incredibly beautiful experience. I too have been deeply moved by the events of the last week, not just in grief for Lori, but in pride and admiration for the blogging community.

    M2Mx

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  25. Thank you for the link to the candles site, Kristen. I went right over and lit a candle, then started crying all over again.
    I'm so sad for Lori.

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  26. It was in disbelief that i read the post written by Lori. I have no words Kristin, but thank you for writing these beautiful words. This place is inspiring and it makes us hold on for a minute longer. xo

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  27. I can't help but feel shocked by it all shocked for Lori - but also shocked at how much it has upset me. Blogging truly is so much more real than people imagine.

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  28. You've put this so beautifully:) It's true, the well will not run dry

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  29. What a beautiful post Kristen.
    And to all the nay-sayers that say that friendships started through social media aren't REAL relationships, I use THIS post and the compassion of the blogging community that has rallied around Lori as proof that they are as real as ANY relationship.
    xx

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  30. Thank you Kristin, and love to Lori xo

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  31. Such a beautiful post. I hope you and Lori catch up in real life soon and get some non-cyber hugs happening too. Finding your blogger soul sisters is a beautiful thing in some otherwise very very crappy times. Lori is lucky to have found you. x

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  32. Waiting and seeing what each day brings is all any of us can do. Lovely post.

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