Today I had to attend a funeral for a child – one of my closest friends’ daughters. The wake and funeral lived up to the expectations that you would have of such an event – tragic, heartbreaking, devastating, sad, overwhelming and horrifying. We were all overcome by bouts of intense emotion and sadness and I worry that my dear friend will never be the same again.
One ray of light that shone over the services was not only the amazing support from friends and family but also the incredible support from the community.
On a girls’ trip a few months ago my friend said, “We have lived in our town for two years and I feel like I have to make more of an effort to connect with the parents. We still tend to hang out with our friends from our old neighborhood.” (Note: my friend is one of the sunniest and friendliest people on the planet. Her idea of not connecting and mine are probably totally different, but this is how she was feeling about her assimilation into her new neighborhood.)
Well, if she honestly was not connecting with the community then I don’t know what happened because the whole town turned purple. Purple! Her daughter’s favorite color. Purple ribbons surrounded trees and lampposts. So much love and support for her daughter and the family. In addition, the neighborhood lit luminaries along the streets that my friend used to drive home from the wake. She was so touched and humbled by the love and support that she received not only from her community but also from so many people from different places in their lives.
Unfortunately, it takes an event like death to illuminate how truly special we are and that every interaction that we have with people every day leaves an impression. We all have more of an impact on others than we think and more shoulders to lean on in difficult times then we can imagine.