6 Things to Do When a Friend Loses Someone
No parent ever expects to bury a child. Life was good that golden October. After thirteen stressful years of medical training, my son Travis, a young surgeon, had finally established a happy medium between his busy medical practice and his family life. Around the backyard fire pit one evening, marshmallows on a stick, he spoke of how content he was with life.
Then came the stunning diagnosis. Travis, who had never smoked in his life, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. He fought long and valiantly, continuing to perform surgery while undergoing experimental treatments that wracked his body. He took his kids to Disneyland and Yellowstone. He took them fishing and to ballgames. He drove miles to play golf with his best-friend brother. Though he was horribly ill, he pressed on, keeping a smile and a good attitude, making memories.
Frankly, he fought so hard, we believed he would be the one person who beat the dismal statistics. When he suddenly died, we were inconsolable. In those difficult days after Travis’s untimely death, friends did their best to bring comfort. But most were at a loss as to the right thing to do. I understood. When I’d been in their shoes, I’d felt exactly the same way. Because of that, I put together a list of gestures that helped most in those early days of bone-jarring grief. Perhaps, you’ll find them useful, too.