“I see you.” Three simple words. People and their stories need to be witnessed. It is our basic human nature to want to fix, but most often there is no fix. Nor is it anyone else’s place to do so. Just be here. Just see me. Just love me. No words need to be spoken. Sit with me. Hold my hand. Hug me. These are the things I have learned over time and have come to understand even more deeply since I watched my dad die from cancer. These are the things that I have held closely and put to practice as I have witnessed my mom’s grief over this last year and three months.
In this last month, as my mom and I have traveled from Arizona, to California, to Oregon, to Washington, to Idaho, to Montana, and tomorrow to South Dakota, I have learned to just allow space when it is needed. For her and for me. There is nothing I can say to make her grief less. And when I do speak, it is with words of acknowledgment. I have learned the language of grief- but this language is so much more than just words. In fact, it is most often everything but. This language is in the eyes, the touch, the breath, the being…
Compassion and empathy are gifts that some people are more in touch with than others- and that’s ok. It took me a long time to openly admit that I am one of those people. I was afraid to own what I have been blessed with. This gift of mine in part comes from my up-bringing, in part from life experience, and in part from the very core of my soul. I am a space holder. I am a witness. I will allow you your grief OR joy. And I will not judge. Our society openly welcomes self deprecation but seems to have a hard time embracing those who regard themselves in a positive light- and as individuals we are afraid to do so for fear of seeming egotistical, but I am here to tell you that it is time to claim ourselves. And to do so without apology.
Embrace your gifts. Share them with the world. If you can only even make a difference for one person, I promise you it will be worth it.
Nothin’ But Love.