Walk with Me

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Grief is a deep pit. My whole family fell into it this year. Most recently last month.

None of my friends can pull me up out of that dark place.

And yet, a brave soul can climb down into the sadness with me and stand there, holding my hand and even supporting my frame so that I don’t fall over. If you are someone who isn’t sure how to comfort someone in deep sadness, read this loving post about when life is too painful for words. I’d call it pretty much perfect.

It’s easy to feel helpless when we see someone caught up in sorrow. That’s why I really value the people who jump in to help me by assisting with the stuff they know they can make easier.

echinacea flowerCooking meals. It’s uses up a constant stream of energy. I’m not consumed with debilitating weakness that confines me to the couch, but when my life is pock-marked with moments of heart-ache and grief, planning food for the table is harder.

A bunch of friends pooled together money and sent me a Munchery gift card to deliver nice meals that just needed a little heating before being served. I got the email notification as I was shopping for groceries with my son. I had to pull over in the dog food aisle because I was crying. My son does not know what happy tears are. He desperately wanted me to stop.

roses_rzSharing gifts and words of encouragement. The afternoon of the day I received the gift card, someone knocks at my door and delivers an exquisite basket of professionally-arranged white flowers. There’s a note with it that reads:

Dear Elise,

We’re thinking of you. We love you and stand with you. We’re praying for you and want to be here for you.

Please let us know how we can continue to help and support you guys.

It’s signed by my writer’s group.

bouquet_rzThat same week a friend asks if he can bring us a meal and delivers a bounty of organic, fresh food from a local deli, along with cookies, sparkling water, and a bouquet of flowers, cookies. I had to put down a red and white checkered tablecloth to honor the meal. It was absolutely beautiful.

Helping with childcare. I mentioned to a friend that my husband and I could use time to ourselves, to process and grieve and just be together without the responsibility of caring for our son. She immediately organized a team of people to volunteer to babysit the kiddo.

I got to sit in the sunshine and read and write in my journal. My brain began a slow climb out of the fog. My husband and I ate dinner in the outdoor garden of an Italian restaurant. The healing season began.

I have cried oh-so-many times, but I have not felt as though I was alone and drowning.

Because of my friends. Because of my family. This is really going to be okay.

Please swallow your pride

If I have things you need to borrow

For no one can fill those of your needs.

That you won’t let show.

(Lean on Me)

About Elise

Elise Stephens began her career in writing at age six, illustrating her own story books and concocting wild adventures. Stephens counts authors Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and Margaret Atwood among her literary mentors, and has studied under Orson Scott Card. She dreams often of finding new ways to weave timeless truths into her stories. Her novels include Moonlight and Oranges (2011), Forecast (2013), and Guardian of the Gold Breathers (2015), a finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year. She lives in Seattle with her family. Follow her on Twitter @elisestephens and Author Elise Stephens on Facebook.

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