Lost Friend

What does one say to a friend who has lost a loved one? What does one say to a friend who has lost anyone? What does anyone say to anyone who has lost anyone?
The words “my condolences” often convey the emotion properly, but that’s more because it’s the thing to say than it has profound meaning. Sort of like “Happy Birthday,” but for the opposite of celebrating continued life. It signals that the feelings are understood, but figuring out what else to say is difficult.
There’s the reassuring phrase “things will get better” if someone is really upset, but it doesn’t need to be said. Things have to get better; the person is going through what could be one of the most difficult periods of his/her life. Even if by a cruel twist of fate things did get worse, invitably things would have to improve by some degree. Life always does, in one way or another.
Saying that one will help in any way possible is sweet, but that is more or less expected too. Friends comforting other friends tend to reitterate their commitment of help. Of course, helping one another is what friends are supposed to do. It just goes without saying for the most part.
Until there’s grief, these sentiments should be easily recalled. While grieving, perhaps the given is forgotten with ease. Maybe that’s why friends will recite oaths made to one another. “I’m here for you.” “Whatever you need.”
The words mean no more than they do the first time they were uttered. Their significance no more profound in times of loss and pain than in times of joy and smiles. They are said to remind, to vow again, to give voice to what is known inside. Those words of comfort succeed by saying something very important in times of loss: not all is lost.

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