Wednesday, May 21, 2014

MORE CONFESSIONS: Be Patient and Listen

I should have known that I didn't have any reason to worry about the small stuff because the women in my family have always been great communicators.  As soon as my family found out that Brad wasn't going to make it, they made one phone call and immediately my kids had someone watching them who loved them like her own family.

"Candice?  Brad's not going to make it.  We need you to come."

I've known Candice since I was around 8-years-old, but I've known of her since I was born.  Our mothers were both Chi Omegas at McNeese (a little college in Louisiana that, rumor has it, was originally built because the town wanted a new rodeo arena and building a college was the best way they could figure out how to fund it).  Carrying on that legacy of friendship my sister, Kristi and Candice had been Chi Omegas at Colorado State University together.  Being four years younger, I had always looked up to Candice as another older sister (and, when we were young, was the pesky younger sister she never had).  As we all entered adulthood, the difference in our ages ceased to matter and the three of us had a friendship that we knew could be counted on for anything.  

"I'm coming."


1.  You were one of the first people Catherine’s family called when Brad had his accident.  What did that moment feel like?

It felt so surreal, numbing. I would not wish that feeling on anyone. It’s perplexing how your body is capable of taking over in such a state of shock and enabling you to get on with the tasks at hand.

2.  Was it hard taking care of the kids, knowing that Brad wasn’t coming home? 

Absolutely, just playing with them and knowing what was going on at the hospital has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with. It was very hard to be upbeat and happy for kids and not let on that they would never see their Dad again.

3.  Since Brad’s death, another friend of yours has become a young widow.  Do you think the same things you did to help Catherine cope also helped your other friend?  Or do you feel like people’s needs are more individual?

I feel like every person has different needs and grieves in different ways. In both instances each person presented their emotions in very different styles and both have continued grieving in dissimilar behaviors.

4.  Did you ever feel like Catherine pushed you away as she tried to deal with Brad’s death?  Or did you have moments when you felt like your friendship was one-sided?  How did you deal with that?

I feel like I let Catherine know that I was there for her whenever she needed a friend. I never felt that she pushed me away. I know she was dealing with emotions that I could only imagine to begin to comprehend, and for many of those emotions she needed to deal with those on her own. At first it was quite difficult to deal with because I was struggling with my own emotions of loss.

5.   Has your friendship changed at all as a result of Brad’s death?

Of course it has, but I think it has only brought us closer as friends and as family units. When Brad first died it was very difficult for all of us to get together and know that he was never going to walk through the door with more beer, but as time let everyone heal it was comforting to reminisce and talk about old times and look toward the future.

6.  If you knew someone who was trying to help a friend deal with the loss of a spouse, what advice would you give them?

Be patient and listen. Let that person know you will be there when they are ready to talk, cry or even start dating someone new. 

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