It’s never too late.
I ran into a dear family friend a few weeks ago who honestly got emotional when she saw me. Turns out she had been feeling somewhat guilty because we hadn’t been in touch much while Scott was sick and in the time since he died.
Which is okay.
I told her please know I bore no hard feelings, appreciated the apology and encouraged her to reach out to me and the boys anytime. I think I even said something really goofy to the effect of let me release you from that guilt because there’s no place for it here.
Which I imagine is why my last post reflected hurt wrapped up in anger presenting itself as a coked out bear for a few people I unexpectedly wound up at odds with over the holidays because it’s complicated when you are dealing with so many people all grieving in different ways. We get flipped inside out with all our feelings on the outside. Emotions run high. Tempers flare. All while we try to tuck our crazy back in.
The thought chased me long after my chance encounter with this friend that we as people hurting need to know people care anytime. There isn’t an expiration on grief. There isn’t an instance where it’s been too long even if you may feel awkward to reach out and particularly don’t know what to say given the time span. It could be days, weeks, months or even years later. Matters none.
Think how you’d feel if you put the grief shoe on the other sad foot and someone said to you:
I’m so sorry for what all you’ve been through.
I’m sorry I wasn’t there, but I am now.
I wish this hadn’t happened to ______.
I didn’t know what to say so I didn’t do anything. I’m so sorry. Can you meet me for coffee/cocktails? I’d love to catch up.
I’ve heard grief can be lonely and I don’t want you to be. I know it's been awhile, but may I bring dinner by one night next week for you and/or family?
I wanted to check in on you and see how you are managing.
I didn’t really understand until I lost my ____ what it must be like for you. I wish I had been there more for you and I’m sorry I wasn’t. Tell me how you are managing now.
I could go on, but I think you get where this is going. It really is that simple to let someone know you care, even if you haven't talked to them in a long time or they lost someone years ago. They are gone but not forgotten. It's nice when people ask about or share a memory about your person no matter the time frame. Try it and post a comment below if the person you reach out to appreciates the gesture. Something tells me they will.