It's hard to believe it has been that long and that the loss can still be so close to the surface after all this time. I've decided that you never really fully recover from tragic loss...especially when you loss a close loved one. I feel like there should be a whole category of people who are the walking wounded. We learn how to move on, but we never really heal. We grow and change around the damage, but it remains an inescapable and undeniable piece of who we are. It may rarely be spoken of as time moves on, but in a moment we can be right back in that place reliving the clear and sharp memory of the day we lost someone important to us. No one can really understand if they've never experienced it for themselves, but we are sort of "related" to those who have. It's instant common ground found in shared experience. It's an irrevocable alteration to the very core of our lives and the grieving never seems to really end. Instead, it seems to just lay dormant for awhile waiting for a birthday, anniversary, important life event, or just a rainy day to resurface. We get used to dealing with it and aren't blind-sided by it anymore, and to the outside world, it appears that all is well. It's really an interesting situation.
Anyway, my heart is heavy for my friend. I know better than most what it is like to lose my father. I cannot imagine dealing with that loss and being a world away from my family. Being the counselor that I am, I want to help ease the pain, but I am fully aware that there isn't anything one person can do to make these situations better. They must work it out for themselves in their way just like I had to do. All I can do is be available with open arms and a ready ear putting my own feelings aside for the moment to help carry another's burden.