With A Little Help From My Friends

When my close friend David died, I thought I had been enlightened from grief but, in truth, I became more and more aloof from others.

BY: Justine Toms


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The evening before the service I became so estranged from several people that at one point I could not even imagine myself attending the event. I felt alienated and outside my circle. Still, although I had no idea how I could possibly get through it, I soon realized there was no question that I would indeed have to find a way.

Upon arriving at the service, I found myself in the arms of my dear circle mates who were emanating nothing but love and connection. How did it happen that I had been so blind to my own grief, and further that I would project it all onto my friends, causing no small amount of mischief and hurt?

As Stephen Levine says, “Grief has a quality of healing in it that is very deep because we are forced to a depth of emotion that is usually below the threshold of our awareness.” My lesson in all this is a deeper understanding of the need to come together in mutual grief.

None of us can ride above the waters of sorrow and pain alone. And the closer we can be to one another when our hearts are breaking, the better. Phones and emails are good, but they cannot replace the soothing and nurturing truth that we are physical beings with need for physical touch. Coming together is the most powerful way to go through such “depth of emotion.”

Throughout the memorial I was surrounded by the loving presence of my friends. It was deeply healing to cry and laugh as, tog ether, we remembered our dear friend.

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