Here's something I found in the Cromwell CT's chapter of Bereaved Parents' April/May 2010 newsletter that I wrote six years ago for my own e-zine, TRIBUTES.
The word comforter makes me first think of a large quilt carefully and skillfully
sewn by a little ol' lady who sits in a rocker and lives somewhere outside of Chattanooga.
The image of something warm to spread over me on a cold night is secure. The comforter envelops me as I sleep, gently resting over me to keep me comfortable.
People make great comforters, too. They may not be sewn like a quilt, but they are just as secure and warm, just as gentle and comfortable.
When a child dies, we need comforters. There are plenty who recite the platitudes. You know of those lines—"He's in a better place" and "God needed another angel."
While our anger may boil at those who don't know what to mutter and so choose from that swamp of ill-cited sayings, there are others. There are the ones who know how to offer a shoulder to cry on, bring flowers, and have pain in their eyes—-those who let themselves ache with you.
Sometimes a comforter knows how to respond because she has had a child die. Ah, yes, these are the ones who can help out so wonderfully. I was blessed to have many good comforters. Some I am still friends with. Others were solace-personified and then I lost contact with them.
So you can imagine the joy I felt when I was reunited with two of my past comforters the other week. While at work at the portrait studio, there stood Lisa, a woman who had taken our broken family under her wing and had literally fed us, listened to us, and although she did not know Daniel, understood. She, years before us, had a child die.
Then an email arrived from another Lisa. She had also had a child die, just months before my Daniel died. She was the one I talked to on the phone and from her I received a helpful grief book in the mail. New to the bereavement journey, we shared much heartache at the same time.
During one week, two comforters from the past again entered my life. This time, after eight years since the death of my son, I was not as needy. My heart was not beating faintly nor were my eyes puffy from nights of crying. Yet, what an impressive reminder of those who helped me get through the months of agony after Daniel died from cancer treatments.
It caused me to think of others who were significant in helping our family as we moved through the horrors of new grief. I was grateful and hoped that I'd never forget how time with a newly-grieving person is time well spent.
Are you new to this journey of bereavement? I pray you will find someone to hold you and listen, even offer you a cup of your favorite tea. Has it been many years since the death of your child or sibling? You can be the fabric that shields a new griever from some of her day-to-day anguish. Your comfort and concern will go far and be remembered for years to come.