A couple of days ago, I messaged a friend on Facebook. She had recently lost her partner and I simply asked how she was doing and if she wanted to get together. Just let her know I was thinking about her. She responded almost immediately with, Yes, let's get together.
After work today, we met. I didn't know the details surrounding her loss; hadn't asked. Sometimes they aren't the most important things to know. Our conversation bounced from dissing a boss we had both known to our individual work paths to grief groups to the horrific shooting of children in Newtown to the suddenly gorgeous weather. In the midst of this bouncing, she shared what had happened, how her partner had died. In the breath after a comment on the whereabouts of a former colleague, she simply stated the facts.
It took my breath away: the suddenness of it, the simplicity of the statement, the manner in which it was set, parenthetically, between two common subjects like peanut butter on toast. In that instant, I saw the rawness of her grief, how sudden and shocking the fact of it had been, and remained, for her.
What I felt was awe. Awe that she honored our moment together by sharing it. Awe that she was still quietly sitting there. Awe that she could function at all.
What I thought was, If I ever face that same sudden loss, I hope and pray I have a fraction of her courage. She is my shero.