When I was younger, I learned that it is important to remove old, withered, blossoms in order to allow for plants to thrive, for new flowers to bloom.
You really know who your friends are when tragedy knocks the wind out of you. Those people who are there – the ones who are ready, willing, and somehow able – to sit with your deflated self, your dispirited heart and newfound lack of faith in the universe. They sit. For as long as it takes. They sit. They come back. They may not understand exactly how you are feeling, but they are willing to listen. Their continued presence is nothing short of selfless. It is appreciated.
There are also those people who have not really been there, but have the best intentions. People with well-intentioned offers of grocery-runs, the “let me know if you need anything”s, the ones who really just haven’t a clue how to articulate their simple lack of knowing what to say. The truth is – there is nothing you can say. There is nothing to say. It is a terrible, shitty, hand of cards to be dealt. Some people simply cannot handle it. Death is not comfortable. For anyone. So, they offer, then move on. In this world, we read the news, but we do not always absorb the news. We move on because we can. We move on because sadness is just too fucking hard to take on or to be around.
Before Owen died, I’d like to think we would be the ones who would sit with a friend, but it is difficult to say now how we would have been then. We have a now and a then. Our ‘then’ selves would have had the best intentions, the caring hearts. Our ‘now’ selves have the best intentions, the caring hearts, but also the experience to know how much a bit of bravery can make the difference. How it really can offer the support that is needed.
We now understand what human relationship and connection can mean in moments of despair. Moments where all hope seems lost. Moments where life seems pointless. Moments that have been saved when we have had the space to proudly speak Owen’s name out loud and feel a glimmer of hope re-emerge, if only fleeting. Moments when we have been given the platform to be recognized as parents. Moments where we feel normal. Moments we feel able to carry on, as a family of three with one member invisible to the eyes, but so very visible in our hearts.
In life, there are those who come and those that go. There are those who put in effort and those who try but are not able to sustain it. There are those who offer support and continue to do so.
Accepting the withering of some relationships is a reality we have had to accept. While once beautiful, letting go of these has given the others opportunity to blossom and thrive, to bring colour into our house and into our lives.