For the last couple of days I have been doing my very best to provide comfort to someone I love who has lost a very important person in his life. From my own personal losses I know that there is very little another can do which will make one feel better. Very often one learns from what is done wrong.

I had friends and lovers who simply pulled away with a quick, “I’m so very sorry” …and, by their absence their words left me without meaning or worth. I had friends who attempted to comfort me by touching and telling me that they knew just how I felt. This was the worst attempts that any individuals made to help me. It is my opinion that there is just nothing worse than to tell someone in grief or pain that you know how they feel. You don’t. How could you or I know how another really feels? Grief is filled with so many horrible elements. And, we all process and feel things differently. And, somehow — their touch as they said this to me made the impact all the worse. It made me angry.

However, at the time, I swallowed that anger and accepted the hugs and the comments because I know that these moments are awkward for everyone. It why so many avoid the grieving or the sick. It is almost too much for many to handle. I understand that and accept it. I don’t really understand why some are so weak that they are unable to get past that fear or awkwardness. But, I have learned to do my best not to push my own resolve on to others. At least, I try.

Anyway, this are a few of the things I learned from the loss of my father, grandmother, friends and ex-lovers.

So, I stay close. I touch, I hold and I try to provide comfort. But, comfort comes quietly and slowly. Everyone finds it in his or her own way. I stay close. I close my eyes and pray that he will find some comfort in the knowledge that he is not alone and that there are many who care about him.

I think the worst aspect is having to sit close as the other person crumbles. And, all the worse, when that crumbling is internal and can only be viewed in a small gesture of his hand, a pause between words, a gentle look from his eyes or a hunger in his touch. You reach out and hold on. And, in a whisper — I think a little comfort might find the way to the human heart that aches.

I think there the stages of grief are infinite. Luckily, so are the stages of joy and life.

“…Put your hang ups in the closet
Put the fears you have in a box
Come on baby pull up your socks
And sunbeams will shine
They will give you light in the dark
Go and give yourself a head start…”

January 15, 2007. Uncategorized.


  1. mattilda a.k.a. matt bernstein sycamore replied:

    Matty, this is really beautiful. I especially like the complexity of this part:

    “And, all the worse, when that crumbling is internal and can only be viewed in a small gesture of his hand, a pause between words, a gentle look from his eyes or a hunger in his touch. You reach out and hold on.”

    Love —

  2. sortedlives replied:

    Beautiful!! Thank you for reminding me how important friendships and LIFE are.

  3. Minge replied:

    Real friendship and real love are the most important things we have.

    What a beautiful post, hen.

  4. Robert replied:

    Absolutely no words can heal, not even time. I just lost my sister a few months ago, but people mean well, even though they say things out of awkwardness, and sometimes they say certain things just because, but I know they mean well.

    I hope your friend finds comfort in himself.

  5. matty03 replied:

    Hey Kids, thank you. I was feeling rather “at a loss” with what I could do to help so I think I just wrote what I was thinking and feeling. Today, my love is on his own. I think that this is important for him. He will be ok. I think it takes time and self-reflectiong to determine how one will process something in order to move forward. Anyway, I felt better after I wrote it.

    Robert — Hang in there.

  6. Old Cheeser replied:

    I guess you are talking about your partner losing a member of his family? Really sorry to hear that, my condolences. I’m sure you are all doing all you can to support him. You’re right, nothing you can do or say can actively take away the grief caused by losing someone close. Only the grieving person can reach that stage and obviously when someone dies they still never forget and the pain is never going to totally go away.

    But you can be there for that person. You can listen, comfort and support. And do things to take someone’s mind off things and keep them focussed on the positive. I’m sure you’re doing all those things anyway!!

  7. matty03 replied:

    Old Cheeser – Yeah, B’s Grandma passed away on Sunday. It was even more of a blow due the fact that his father has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. It’s rough stuff. I’m not going anywhere. I’m here for him. I wish I could take the pain and sorrow away, tho.

  8. Daniel replied:

    Losing my job was pretty much the last event in a chain of terrible events, during the course of which I lost my ministry, my reputation, my friends, my car, my home and my health. You’d think that losing a mere job would be a breeze after that, but it sent me into the abyss.
    You’re doing much much better than I did. If you ever need to talk or chat, let me know, ok?

  9. ing replied:

    I know that it’s awful to witness the sufferings of someone you love, probably because you’re powerless to do anything about it. I hope you’ll accept that powerlessness, and I hope you can allow your loved one to experience his sadness. It might not SEEM like a good thing, but I really think we have to experience the depths sometimes.

  10. matty03 replied:

    Daniel – Oh, you poor baby. I’m so sorry you had to go thru so much hell. Seems like we all do at some point in life. Sometimes those things set off chain reactions. This happened to me a couple of years ago and I lost EVERYTHING. Interestingly, as horrible as it seemed at the time it turned out to be the best thing that could happen to me. But, that’s me. And we all have such different circumstances and results. I never had much anyway, so losing what I had had in the monetary sense was no great loss. Stability is nice, tho.

    I guess, this thing I am going thru is just frustrating. But, I did quit the job. I lost my cool and I quit. Ugh. But, I’ve been thru MUCH worse and had MUCH less — with A LOT more worry. So, this is kid’s play. I have a roof over my head, a lover who really loves me, friends who really love me and I will get a job. Right now, my biggest worries are for B who is going thru so much with family loss and grief. But, he, too — will get thru this.

    And, Daniel, by the way — thank you so much. It means a great deal.

    Ing – I think you are entirely right. I am trying to give him the space he needs but also trying hard to never be too far away if he should need me. I hope you come to understand how wise you are. I do so hope that.

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