Since the heaviest snow usually falls during this month, native tribes of the north and east most often called February's full Moon the Full Snow Moon. Some tribes also referred to this Moon as the Full Hunger Moon, since harsh weather conditions in their areas made hunting very difficult.
I am letting my daughter Lauren have a go at this blog today...one of her good friends lost her brother this month and it brought everything back to her...I think that she has such good ideas to share...so here is her email to all her friends ..(with minor changes to protect those who are grieving)
I think that maybe this would help people who are depressed, to know that this heartache goes on and on for those who are left...and I wish that whoever hurt John could read this and know that we will be sad forever...Maybe if enough people read this BEFORE the actions they take change others lives they may think...and make a different choice.
Hi guys…. I obviously have not stopped thinking about this tragedy today. I wish more than anything there were no new members of my particular club, you wouldn’t wish this pain on your worst enemy, let alone one of your closest friends; and I’m pretty pissed that it has, (God may actually not want to let me in someday because my “Beef List” with him is getting pretty long).
When my brother died I first thought… how does this happen; we were a good family, I didn’t need to lose him to know how lucky I was, I always knew it. But you lose them anyway,,, then I thought ,well, ok, at least I’ve taken the “tragedy” statistic off the table… & I thought for sure I had at secured my friend's, my friend's families, the rest of my family at least, a little peace from loosing anyone else until we were nice and old… but then someone close to you loses someone they love, and another, and you realize just because you know exactly where the “death and dying” books are in Borders doesn’t mean your friends never will…
With that said I’ve been sitting here thinking what the hell is the point, we get it, we know how short life is, we know to cherish one another, our families… to live in the moment & be sooo incredibly thankful for those people who surround us; to say I love you & to say it again & again & again… you really can’t say it enough!
As I sit here consumed of these thoughts it occurred to me that maybe we experience these events & suffer sadness not so that you take the statistic off the table but so that you are better able to help your friends put their lives back together… so I thought I could share some things I have found that made it suck a little bit less and may actually help.
When I spoke with (my friend) this morning something she said really struck home for me… “ I get it now, what you’ve been saying, I get it; I’m alone”. It made me want to throw up actually and I figure if I just kept this to myself there really was no sense in experiencing it at all….so I thought I’d just share a few things about losing your brother and only sibling & maybe it may help any friends you may know in the future… I LOVE YOU all very much, you’re all beautiful woman & I’m extremely lucky to know you!
Things that make you feel a little less Shitty; when things are pretty f-ing Shitty….
Cards & Letters: -
BAD-I beg you no “Memory Quotes” Seriously though, these are THE WORST for a “sibling loss”…there should be a disclaimer on the back of these hallmark babies! (Ex. “at least you have the memories”, “find comfort in the memories” etc). when you’ve lost your sibling & only sibling at that… it just reminds you that your “lifetime backup memory” is gone; you know the one who can help retell the story of the worst Christmas gift you got & who gave it to you, who can remind you of the name of that kid you hated in 2nd grade…where you used to hide your blanket, (you get the idea)… when you lose your sibling you’re now responsible for EVERY minor memory you thought wasn’t important to retain because you virtually had a “second memory”. NOT to mention the enormous pressure of knowing you’re going to be the only one now making the plans for your parents future “Would mom have liked this nursing home? She hates purple” - these kind of questions occur to you over time & it gets REALLY LONELY!
GOOD -“F - This SUCKS”… THIS should be a hallmark card! Put this in a blank card & call it a day! Frankly there are no words when you lose anyone, especially your sibling. This is the person who you’re supposed to know the longest! It’s pretty difficult to wrap your head around the fact that at some point you will have a husband, friends & even children who you will have known longer than your own brother or sister, it kind of still makes me sick to my stomach! WTF right? So my advice … “F- This sucks” in a card will pretty much cover it. I really liked hearing this, it was refreshing & honest & it really summed up how I felt! – to each his own I suppose, but really… has a lovey dovey sympathy card ever made you “Feel good”? Get serious!
GOOD - Sending Food / Other items: -For the Friends of the Family: Send anything… even paper goods… there are a lot of people coming in and out of the house you’d be surprised how you need things like toilet paper, paper towels & hello, TISSUES!! -no one’s eating, but fruit baskets as lame as they sound… AWESOME! It was the only thing I could keep down & the juice felt really good on my throat which was pretty sore from crying… Also, fruit hydrates which is really good when you literally run out of tears- I know right, who knew it really happens!
To Say & Not to Say at a Wake / Memorial Service of a Kid (doesn’t matter how old… keep in mind if their parents are still alive, this is someone’s baby): -
BAD: Anything that reiterates “You’re alone” - “It’s just you now, you’ve got to be strong for your parents”… it’s seems obvious; but you’d be surprised the amount of people who say this! -Equally Bad: “He’d want you to be happy” – ok… well good luck with that then because I’m miserable… & who are you to tell me what he wants? -
Also Bad: “I’m sorry for your loss “ , I know this is a standard and if you like it, stick with it… but being on the other end, you really not feeling to “grateful” for your current situation & really don’t want to be “thanking” anyone. Don’t get me wrong, of course you will, we all do… it’s habit, but if you’ve got other options, give ‘em a whirl…
Pretty Bad: “How are you?” “How are you holding up” … Holy Cow; this should be a no-no at any wake or memorial service or for anyone who’s lost someone… how do you possible answer this? What sad person wants to say “Ok” … shocker, they’re not… OR what if they’re honest and say “Shitty” (Good for them by the way! ) … but seriously, that’s just awkward. Go with something someone can actually answer & feel good about themselves answering… such as…- GOOD: “On a scale of Terrible, how are you?”; “Pretty”, “Well that sounds about right, we Love you so much” (Insert Big Hug here) Come on who doesn’t like an I love you & a big hug.
Really Good: Share a memory ( is in fact different than reminding the person of their memories ) or a story…Any memory or story, good or bad. It doesn’t even have to be your memory… It could be a story you remember hearing. It could be so simple like “ He had the best laugh”.-
Excellent: Tell the story / memory you have and write it down in a card or letter! The person you’re telling probably isn’t in a position to remember the story long term. They’ll love hearing it but will most definitely want to read it & reread it & reread it… and then read it again to their kids someday (I’ve got quite the collection of “Kiddos , meet your Uncle” stories)!
After & Way After: -
GOOD: I read A LOT of “death and dying” books (this we know) and while a lot of you may not have “believed” in life after death or mediums you listened, you asked questions & you never led on that you might think it was totally whacked (thanks!). The most helpful was that you let me do was talk & talk & talk & talk …and when I thought I had talked enough… you asked more questions (troopers you were! ). Now I realize that I’m stating something you guys already do but does it hurt to know, “YAY You?!” I didn’t think so…- way after: I think this applies to anyone who’s lost anyone, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to reiterate… after the initial shock, the services etc… everyone goes home & you’re supposed to get back to “your life” (whatever the hell that is) … it gets VERY VERY quiet…. A random email, or text message, a phone call…just to say I’m thinking about you goes A LONG WAY! Or a hey “I saw this today & it made me think of you “ I still get those & you’d be surprise you usually get them on the days you most need it… they days when the one your missing is REALLY on your mind… so if someone randomly crosses your mind… let them know, they might need a little pick me up! One of the best I ever got was MONTHS after my brother’s service and it said “ I’m having a really bad day today thinking about John, but it’s ok because if it means that I’ve taken one ounce of what you’re going through for a day it’s worth it. “-
Just be around: People say that when a loved one dies it creates a hole…true; but not entirely, it’s a series of little holes. You might not think that you can help, you might not think you have something to contribute, you’d be surprised what hole you can fill. It might have been days, months, even years since you last spoke to someone, but when you lose someone you love like a sibling and especially your only sibling… you are alone; alone with your thoughts, with your grief, with your memories. Suddenly trying to remember who your neighbor was when you were little or what that snack was that they served in kindergarten becomes SOO important & that person you would ask those quick questions to isn’t here anymore. That person who would send a quick text message back answering your silly questions without having to get into a “how have you been, it’s been so long”… & so, no matter how long it’s been since you’ve spoken, no matter what your last encounter was… you can be that quick text message, you can remember that punch line of a joke, just be around and available to be whatever you’re needed to be… Of course ( & come on I know) you’ll never be complete, or replace the love but when enough people start filling all the holes that are left in your life; that’s when it starts to get a little bit better… So, for Alison or others you know who may be suffering, just be around. Think about if you lost your brother or sister, what’s a really small thing in your routine you would miss? Are they a great hugger? You can do that! Do they sing happy birthday on a voicemail instead of just wishing it? Yup, another thing you can do… We all have these routines; I’m pretty sure whatever yours is it doesn’t have anything to do with being related…and I’m pretty sure you could do it for someone / anyone you loved & I’m positive there’s someone out there missing it now!
I hope that if anything I’ve just shared has somehow helped or will help a friend of yours someday or that the sadness I’ve incurred has made me a better friend, then I can say it’s been worth it. Thank you for letting me pay it forward.