On my flight to Chicago, I sat beside a woman, we made small talk, I went to sleep and woke up after we gained required altitude.
I started reading my book "Hole in Our Gospel". Slept a bit more until the snacks came. Two chapters and two hours later, my flight landed.
The woman beside me made a very short call. She informed the person she was speaking to that she would get to ground transportation soon. She sounded very excited to see whoever was on the receiving end of the call. Seconds later, she broke down crying her friend. I inquired what was going on and she told me that she was visiting a friend, mother of a two year old whose spouse just died! She is from Serbia and does not have any family in America.
I spoke to her for a while and concluded my thought with the cliche "you just have to be strong"...we rationalized that she had to be strong for her friend. I immediately regretted saying it as I questioned the advice. Why do we have to be strong? Why can't we just let it all out,lose composure and express loss for someone dearly loved. Yes I know that life goes on but pretending that something did not occur does not make it any easier to deal with.
I won't offer any advice on how to.deal with the loss of a loved one and I am thankful that I have no experience. Its not imaginable. I will never be able to imagine someone's pain when they walk into.someone's bedroom expecting to see someone and days later the person still hasn't shown up. I've never been in the position of explaining to an innocent child that "daddy isn't coming home....ever". While I can sympathize, I do not have the frame of reference.
Let this be a reminder to be more sensitive in people in need, realize that our "neighbors" and people all around are hurting and when you dont know what to say, allow silence to reign.