May 24

No Timetable

I’ve learned through my many medical crises that even the best of friends seem to have a mental timetable for which you’re supposed to get over things. Break-ups, deaths, the loss of a loved one, cancer, a health crises; it doesn’t matter. “Hope you feel better soon!” “Speedy recovery!” These expressions are intended to convey the idea that “I hope your suffering will end soon.” Sometimes, however, it feels like pressure to be done with grieving or recovery or just plain not feeling well because that person is tired of worrying about you. When the husband of a friend died suddenly and unexpectedly a few years ago I told her, “I’m here to support you in any way that I can as you grieve this loss. Take as long as you need. I’m here. There’s no timetable.”

Life rarely operates on a timetable. Grieving or adjusting to a “new” normal is not linear. You’re going along thinking that you’re doing better and suddenly you’re in the grocery store and you hear a song or see something that reminds you of your loss. Then the bottom falls out of your day and you’re back where you were six months ago. Sometimes the best way to support a friend is to let her know that you’re in it for the long haul, no matter how long that might be.