I was very hesitant to write my last blog post about asking the question, "How are you?" I didn't want it to come across that I was bitter or angry. Some people said that my blog was helpful because they really don't know what to say during times like this. Because of the post, I was able to have a couple of really deep and meaningful conversations. I didn't want people to think that I couldn't be asked how I was doing. Actually, it feels really good to talk about how I'm feeling, especially to people who are asking because they truly want to know and have the time to hear me out.
I've thought about the question a lot and have come to the conclusion that everyone has something they are sensitive to. Two people I love dearly told me that it was hard to hear, "At least they are in a better place," when they lost their loved one. For someone else it will be something else. We are all different, and we all deal with grief in different ways.
After I wrote the blog post and spoke to a couple of people that I trust, I realized that what I had a hard time with was when the question, "How are you?" was used as a filler, just something to say, to fill the spaces of awkwardness, without giving any time to really say how I was feeling. My cousin told me, "Kris, do you really think people ask the question and not care?" and then I realized too that it really depended on the person, our closeness, and how I was feeling at that moment. I know this is not very helpful, but this part is the truth. My cousin also told me that she never felt like I was closed with her, and I never have been, but we are really close, and I know that she loves me and supports me. She has gone through this sadness too with her best friend.
So, I mentioned that I had two really good conversations come out of that blog post. Even though I felt a little uneasy to write that last blog post, these two conversations made it worth it for me. Last week we found out that one of our aunts was diagnosed with cancer. Below is a conversation via text with my same cousin, Julie, mentioned above.
Julie: "I haven't spoken with my cousins yet. I'm kinda afraid too because I don't want to lose it over the phone."
Me: "Call your cousins. It will mean a lot to them to know you care. It's ok if you lose it. You love her and that means that world when your mom has cancer. Believe me."
Julie: "You have me so self conscious now about saying how are you...lol. Just talking to my cousins and I was trying so hard to not say how are you so I changed it up and said....how you doing....lol"
After I told my cousin I wanted to include our conversation in this blog post, she wasn't sure If she should remain anonymous and my response:
Me: "No, I think it's human, you don't want to make them feel sadder, but from my perspective being on the other side, it is so comforting to know how much my mom is loved and how I'm not the only one hurting. I've heard from many people that they try to be strong for me and try to give me my space, but the ones who have touched me the most have been the ones who have cried with me and have come to me with their sadness too."
Believe me, I know it's awkward. What do you say in horrible situations like this? How do you approach someone dealing with the hardest loss they've ever experienced? To me, it is better to say something to show you care, instead of not saying anything at all. If you are going to ask, "how are you?" make sure it is not asked in passing just because something needs to be said. The day my mom died, one of my other cousins (he is more like a brother to me), came up to me in tears, all choked up, and said to me, "I'm so sorry." And that was all I needed to hear to know that he loved her and loves me too.
Right after I posted the last blog post, I got a message from a dear friend of mine:
I've been wanting to call you for so long. You have been on my heart for such a long time and the Lord just keeps bringing up your name with everything that I have been hearing and going through.
Not sure if you saw but John's aunt is dying from cancer this week. We're going to say goodbye tonight and I just can't seem to keep it together. I've been crying on and off all day. Then I feel bad because it's not even my aunt who's passing and I have no right to feel as upset as I do. In essence it's a joyous thing as she's been battling this for 3 years and will soon be home with her Lord. Yet I think the thought that she's leaving behind her kids and a husband makes me so sad. I mean she was the glue for that family and I'm not sure how they will do without her.
But I think the thing I'M struggling with the most is what to say when we visit tonight. John is also at somewhat of a loss as to how to handle it. I feel awful and so selfish even talking to you about all this as I know you have your own grief to deal with but you're the only person I know who understands what we're all going through. I just wanted to let you know how timely your blog post today was and how much I appreciated it. It helped a lot.
I'm so sorry to hear about John's aunt. I did not know about it. Thank you for messaging me. My mom was the glue of our family too.
Do not feel bad about me, I've been meaning to tell you how much your Facebook post on my wall meant to me. Truly. Your words were so encouraging.
Tonight, give your uncle and cousins hugs. Just say you're sorry. Tell them all the wonderful memories of their mom and how you've learned from her how much she loves them. And yes, you have every right to be upset. She made a difference in your life and you love her. You feel sad for your cousins and your uncle. You're sad that your aunt has been fighting for so damn long and it sucks and it is not fair. Know that God is with her right now. Angels are singing to her and are waiting for her to join them in heaven.
Feel free to share my info with your cousins, my blog too. I am here for you and for them.
I am praying for all of you, and for your aunt. I pray that she is at peace and ready to meet her Savior.
I love you girl. Let me know what you need.
A recurring theme right now for me is that, God truly works EVERYTHING out for His good. I hate that my mom is not physically here with me anymore, but He uses everything we go through to bring Him glory. When we go through trials and hardships, they would only be a waste if we didn't learn from them and use what we've learned to help others. No matter what your trial is right now, you can always use it to bless others. God works everything out for His good. Always.