This year has taught us more about what it means to LOVE and to be loved. We are so blessed for the loved ones who have shown us that love endures all things. A beautiful letter below from a dear friend on Valentine’s Day:
Valentine’s day couldn’t be a more perfect time to write a short note for my sweet friends, Lisa and Bret. Today is a day when you honor those you love, including your friends. When I think about this past year, there are many words to describe it, but one word lingers. Grief. It is heavy, it is emotional, and it changes you.
I have felt the gravity of grief when losing a parent, actually both parents and my father-in-law, but that is supposed to happen. Losing a child isn’t supposed to happen. I have never felt that deep pain that weighs in your body, aching to hold your baby, aching to capture pictures that hold the memories of sweet moments.
Although I have never experienced that pain, I have felt the pain of grief by walking alongside my friends, Lisa and Bret. I have lost sleep and I have sobbed while crying out to God. What do I say? What do I do? How can I help? Is it ok to cry? Is it ok to laugh? As the past 10 months have passed, these questions have been answered. Love. Whatever I did for Lisa and Bret, I needed to do it prayerfully and in love.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
This verse helped me to keep in perspective how to “help” Lisa. I needed to love her and to be myself. I loved her by crying with her, by walking through the loud halls of work with her, by praying with her and never losing hope that our God would not fail. While easy to say, it was hard to do. As a friend, I felt the pain of losing Jake, too. I wanted to hold him, I wanted to hear about his milestones, and I too, wanted to see his first footsteps and hear his little voice come alive. When Lisa and Bret lost Jake, their friends lost Jake, too. We rejoiced when we heard of Lisa’s pregnancy, but grieved when we found out he was gone.
Lisa and Bret lost so much April 1st, but I knew they didn’t need to lose their friends. I called, wrote notes, brought dinner, listened to my teary-eyed friend, and listened to my friend laugh for the first time. I knew that she still needed me. I gave her time to respond and she did. She needed me and I needed her! We all go through different “seasons” in life. I am so glad Lisa and I were in different seasons of life this past year; it allowed me to support her during this time.
I say all of this because I have grown as a friend this year (At least I think I have). I have learned to help my friend cry, to help her laugh, and to help her to be herself. My advise to friends walking alongside a grieving mom, don’t let her do it alone! Don’t give her time…don’t give her space…Love her and allow her to respond in her own time. On this Valentine’s Day, I pray that you would be surrounded in love and that you would feel Jake’s presence in everything that you do. -SH
My response to you dear friend,
You are the first face I saw when my life changed forever. I called. You came. Right to that doctors office. I sobbed in your arms and when I insisted on driving myself home, you refused and left your own car abandoned 20 miles away from your home to get me to mine safely. You were shaking. I remember that. You were one of the fist people to know I was carrying Jake and one of the first to know I lost him.
Your patience with me this year has been a beautiful testimony of selfless love and friendship. When I pulled away you sat and waited. When I fell apart with no words but only sobs, you cried with me. When I questioned our Lord, you prayed over me. When I couldn’t face something, you faced it for me. You cooked for me. You laughed with me. You showed up just because. When I had to make difficult decisions, you supported and guided me every step of the way. You my friend, have been a protector during the most challenging days of my life. Our relationship didn’t start out like this but God knew his plans for us.
And yes, you have certainly grown as a friend, even when I had nothing to give-you gave to me anyway. I am so very grateful for you-always.
I remember the night we took this selfie. So many tears yet so much love an laughter to seal up the night. I love you. Happy Valentine’s Day friend.