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To Comfort the Bereaved

How do you comfort a friend?

You can listen, but what more can you do?

It is unfair to them to say, “I understand.”

Even if you went through the same experience,

Because they are not you and do not see through your eyes.

Even though it appears that you have suffered the same loss

Their loss was not exactly yours nor theirs, yours.

Their heart is not yours

Your heart is not theirs

You can feel the sincerest empathy for them,

And care to the point where it breaks your own heart

but that doesn’t mean you “understand.”

You can sit with them, hold their hand, and listen to them

Throughout the time of grief, pain, and loss

And that is of value,

Your presence can be a gift,

But you don’t understand the experience as they do.

You can only understand it as you do.

But there is something you can do

Don’t say that you understand, but touch your heart to theirs

And know that you are there for them to share

That even if you cannot understand, you care

And that their loss matters to you.

Even that which you do not understand.

Only share the mystery of grief and growth

And the wonder at knowing that love is stronger than death

And you will have touched your heart to theirs

And you will help each other to live.

That is the greatest of gifts.

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