A friend of mine lost her husband this past weekend. I was sitting with her and she was describing how she's keeping her children close to her, letting them sleep in her room. "Do you think that's ok?" she asked. "Yes." I replied. And I continued, "And it's ok for them to stay with you for as long as you want." Because the truth is, only she knows what is right for her. And the truth is that I have not been in her shoes and I have not lost a husband and I have not grieved as she is grieving. The truth is that what feels right for her is right and no one should tell her differently.

When I was separated from my (now ex) husband, and I was living at home with a 6 month old and a 3 1/2 year old, I was asked just how long I would continue to go on like that- being married but living in two separate places. "Until I can't do it any longer." I used to reply. "You mean you might live like that for the next 16 years?" people would ask incredulously. "Maybe" I would say. "Or maybe just for the 16 days. I won't know until I get there." Because the truth is that I didn't know how long I could go on like that, I only knew each day I continued to live as we were, that that was all I knew for that day. And I couldn't look to the future and I didn't want to try to predict the future and I didn't want to try to put limits on anything. The very most I could do was get through that day. And if I made it through that, I would continue on to the next day.

The truth is that we think we know what we would do in a given situation, but we really don't. All we can really do is live our lives, today, as best we can. All we can really do is to offer compassion to others in the form of non-judgment. All we can really do is reassure each other that what we are doing is enough, and what we are doing is right for us, and what we are doing is the very best we can for today, for this minute, for ourselves and our families. Until we have lost a husband, or been through a separation, until we have lost a parent or lost a child or lost a friend, until we have lost a job or lost our minds or lost our way, until we have lost everything, until we think we cannot take another breath, until we have been on our knees begging for help, until we have been down to the depths of despair -we cannot know that person's pain. We cannot know what we would do until we have been there, and all we can do in the meantime is offer our condolences, and offer a hand, and offer an open heart and mind for comfort.

After all, this is the life.
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