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Giving Support Grief/Dispair Widower Awareness

Just Show Up!

Jim Winner

I have had an interesting two weeks. Last Saturday, one of my best friend’s wife died from Glioblastoma. If you know this beast, you know it is a terrible diagnosis with a brutal prognosis. Over the past several months, we have spent a lot of time on his porch, talking, drinking wine, and sharing experiences as caregivers as well as survivors.

Last week, I had the privilege of meeting with two young widowers for lunch and coffee. Both men are raising young children, have important jobs and have lost their wives in their 30’s and 40’s. I appreciated listening to their stories of loss and discovering their new normal. We had the opportunity to talk about reinvention, renewal, rebirth, and restoration. These are young men with a lifetime of children to raise, dreams to fulfill and hopes to achieve.

Last night, I received news that my longtime friends’ wife, who has been doing well battling lymphoma, just learned that a recent PET scan shows recurring and new cancer growth. I will be on the phone with him later this morning. He was a pillar for me during my journey. His presence did and does show up daily. He even traveled from Seattle to Indianapolis for Joyce’s celebration of life service.

I have shared before about how grateful I am for people who have showed up for me during my journey. I appreciate the occasional card that just says

“hey…thinking of you “ or a phone call from a friend who wants to come over, sit on the porch and eat donuts. Recently, I have been most thankful for a friend who reached out several months ago on Facebook. This person, who I have known since 1993, has become a real ray of sunshine to me. These people showed up and continue to show up.

I believe, at the end of the day, we are called to show up. We are called to just be there for each other. If there is any group of people that should be sensitive to the unspoken needs of others, it is us. We know that no one walks in our shoes but us. We also know that there are a lot of people out there who are fighting their own battles, especially in these crazy times of corona virus, politics, natural disasters, and 2020 in general.

I am going to start to try to look for places where I can show up. I want to look for opportunities to simply connect with people who need it. I want to be there to hear what my friends are going through. Thankfully, we do not have to know all the answers. That is for a professional. All we must do is encourage, support and listen.

I have learned that my load is considerably lighter when I help someone else lift theirs. It’s a tender and fulfilling part of life. I hope you look for opportunities to be there for people who just need a sounding board or listening post. It is good stuff.

Be well, brothers. Choose Joy Today.

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Jim Winner’s thoughts appear every other Thursday. You can write to him by Private Messenger.

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