What do you say to someone who has experienced an unspeakable tragedy? And what if that someone is your sister, who lost a 25-year-old son? And what if that son took his own life.
FOF Patti (not her real name) tried to say the right thing to her grieving sister for three years. “It’s not your fault. You had no way of knowing the depth of his unhappiness,” Patti would tell her sister. But nothing seemed to help, no matter how many times a day Patti would talk to her.
“I finally realized all I could do was sit and listen and acknowledge my sister’s grief,” Patti told me. “I need to be there for her, and that’s all there is to it,” she added. There’s another sibling, who doesn’t have anything to do with the situation. “It falls to me,” Patti said, matter-of-factly.
It’s a great burden to see someone you love in such emotional turmoil. But, as Patti discovered, there really isn’t a lot we can do to make someone else’s profound pain disappear. We’ve simply got to yet them know we love them and will always be there for them.
I’ve known Patti for over 30 years and I can understand why her sister turns to her. Patti is bursting with genuine warmth, passion, sincerity and love.