My wife had a good friend pass away recently.
I realize that's a terrible way to start a story,but in this case, this is where the story begins.
Her friend had cancer for years and in February, things took a turn for the worse. My wife became one of her primary caretakers, spending days and nights in the hospital. When weather forced our camping trip to end a day early, it turned out to be a blessing as it enabled my wife to be by her friend's side as she passed away.
But that's the beginning of our story.
About a week later I was getting the mail as I usually do and there was what looked like a card addressed to my wife from a friend of ours from church. It wasn't addressed to me and I didn't really think much of it.
When my wife got home I mentioned she'd gotten something in the mail and went back to doing whatever it was I was doing. A few seconds later, I hear "Awww, Kathy is so sweet."
Intrigued, I got up to see what it was.
It turned out that my wife had received a sympathy card for the loss of her friend.
I spoke with Kathy a few days later after church, telling her how much it meant to my wife and to me that she took the time to send a sympathy card. And that's when she told me something that I'm ashamed to admit I'd never thought of before.
Whenever someone dies, the family gets all the concern and the cards and everything, she said, but it can be really difficult for friends too and they don't get the same kind of love and support. She went on to say she didn't know my wife's friend, but understood how hard it was for her and wanted to let her know she was thinking about her.
Of course the family needs love and care when one of their family members dies. And I've always tried to be supportive and sympathetic whenever anyone I know loses a family member. But I've overlooked the friends that are grieving in their own, often intense way.