Those of us who have known loss recognize those of us who have known loss. It’s like a sixth sense: you’re in Macy’s sifting through the sock pile and there she is. A woman, probably a mother, who has buried her son. Her only son. The one with the dazzling smile and the dip in his walk. You don’t ask her if she’s loss someone for whom she would have died. You just know. It’s something in the way she holds herself, that slight downward cast of her shoulders. The way her eyes are heavy at the corners, like she’s been crying so much her eyelids have sunk. Knowing “the look” of the bereaved is like a skin you gradually grow into, like a club you wish you weren’t a member of. But it’s also a calling, an opportunity to share yourself with strangers just because you know the look and you’ve also felt the bone-crushing pain. Here’s your chance to reach across the sock pile and let that mother know she is not alone, you know too, not how she feels, but that she feels a hurt so massive it’s hard to name. Maybe you touch her hand or perhaps you just give her a look that says ‘I feel you. I do.’ Because you do. We do. What an awful, wonderful knowing. Go Love.
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