Sometimes things happen and you don’t know what to say. Sometimes there just isn’t any right thing to say. Platitudes and trite sayings just don’t cut it when someone loses a loved one whether it was a total shock, or “expected”. As if knowing such an event was on the way would bring any comfort! Words are so very inadequate to express the shock, sadness, sense of loss, devastation that you know are being experienced at least 1,000 fold by the family. You want to help, do something concrete. I have sat with a very dear friend who lost her young daughter, just holding her hand, crying, talking, hugging, and expressing disbelief. I have done this the day after her daughter left the Earth, and many times since in the intervening years. I tried to figure out what the best thing to do or say is, and the only thing I can say is that it seems not mentioning the person who’s gone is the worst thing to do. Even when talking about her makes her cry, my friend most wants for her daughter to be remembered. Talking about those who are no longer with us keeps them present in our lives, helps fill the void somehow even though it is like one raindrop in the ocean. I often talk about my parents who are both gone, I keep a picture or two of them around, it helps keep them in my life somehow. Grieving is such an individual thing. There’s no right or wrong way, but not getting stuck in part of the cycle seems to be the key to continuing on with our lives here on Earth. Just like keeping the pedals on a bicycle in one position will not allow you to move forward, neither will staying on one part of the grieving cycle. I know so many people who have lost loved ones recently, husbands, children, parents, siblings, and pets. It all hurts. Sometimes I feel like maybe I should edit what I say, what I write, in an effort to be sensitive to their losses. If I did that, however, I’d be hard pressed to make conversation or write a letter or Facebook status. We all lose loved ones, it’s part of our journey. It never seems to make sense why the ones who go are chosen to do so when they are chosen. I don’t know that we’re supposed to really make sense of it, but we try anyhow. We’re each on our own life’s journey. We help each other as best we can, try to learn from each other, and lend some comfort in whatever form—hugs, prayers, listening, holding hands, or just sitting silently side by side passing tissues.