Monday, December 22, 2008

Check In with the Suffering

I got a kind E-mail today from an old high school friend of mine. She works for a Congressman in Washington. And her short message simply read:

This time of year can be tough for a variety of reasons. Just checking in to see how you are doing. So. How are you?


That was very thoughtful. Her message was open-ended, but focused & to the point; inquisitive, but without prying. And concise. It allowed me to feel free to share any thoughts or feelings that I needed to share.

(FYI, I'm doing fine. What I wrote to Angela exactly was, "I'm doing well. Kind of strange how well I'm doing, actually. I was bracing myself for this season a month ago, but it hasn't been that tough. Since Mom & Dad had split 10 years ago, I guess I've grown used to having a Holiday without her.")

Anyway, that was really good. I learned a lesson from that today: checking in with people who are suffering at timely moments is a good thing to do.

So here's my advice to anyone who wishes to be compassionate to those around you who are suffering: write critical dates into your planner/organizer. Write a note to yourself to remember said sufferer on the one year anniversary of their loss. If they lost a spouse, Valentine's Day & their Anniversary would be good days to remember. And, of course, the Holiday's. Even try to be thoughtful enough to give a phone call or write a card just to let that person know you're thinking about them & that they are not alone.

After experiencing that seemingly small gesture of goodwill, I'm resolved to do that myself. I hope you do the same.

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