At about this time last night, my dad told me that I needed to look on the Facebook profile of one of my childhood friends. I did and saw that she had just experienced the loss of her father. I wasn’t quite sure what to say.
Condolences are difficult no matter who has died, but when it is something that you’ve yet to go through it seems especially hard. I don’t know exactly what is okay to say. I don’t know if I’m supposed to offer some words that express sadness and grief over her loss, or if I’m supposed to try to offer some kind of joke or happy memory to lighten her sorrow. I know that no matter what I say, it won’t bring back her father. I know it won’t make her happy. I know these things, yet I want to say something to make it better.
Do I remind her of 8th grade after the “Winter Holiday” dance when she had a sleepover for her birthday? That was one of the last times that I remember seeing her dad. I remember him laughing a bit about us (Josie and her party guests) messing up the pancakes that we had decided to cook for breakfast. We put chocolate syrup in the batter, which was also composed of Bisquick and either baking soda or baking powder. This led to the most bitter pancakes a person might ever taste. It was one of those really embarrassing childhood moments that you wouldn’t want to remember except that you know it is also one of the greatest/funniest moments of your life. I remember him seeming so young and so nice. It’s difficult to think of him not being alive anymore.
His daughter is one of the nicest people you could ever meet. She is sweet and funny and an incredible person. So knowing that this wonderful and sweet person is in such pain is hard. And knowing that I can’t figure out what to do to ease that pain makes me feel like I’m failing her as her friend. Aren’t friends supposed to be able to help you through the most difficult times in your life? I would guess that this is one of those, but I don’t know what I could possibly say or do to help her.