I am reading an incredible book on death and loving others in some very tragic situations. In this excerpt the author, Kate Braestrup, shares her experience right after losing her husband in a car accident. Out of her loss she allows the grief to bring her to a place where she goes to seminary and becomes a chaplain for the Maine Warden Service. Walking people through some difficult situations out in the wildlife of Maine.
This passage, I can’t stop thinking about it.
Perhaps forty minutes after I had heard the news of Drew’s death, I was sitting in the living room with my friend Monica when the doorbell rang. The sergeant was on the telephone, so Monica sprang to answer it.
A young man stood on the front steps, clad in a spiffy dark suit, his hair neatly combed, exuding a scent of soap and virtue. Holding out a pamphlet, he beamed at Monica. “Have you heard the Good News?”
For a long second, Monica glared at him, not sure whether to punch him or laugh hysterically. She compromised by slamming the door.
A few minutes later, the doorbell rang again. This time, I answered it. It was my neighbor, en elderly woman I had exchanged no more than a dozen words with in the ten years I’d lived in Thomaston. She had pot holders on her hands, which held a pan of brownies still hot from the oven, and tears were rolling down her cheeks. “I just heard,” she said.
That pan of brownies was, it later turned out, the leading edge of a tsunami of food that came to my children and me, a wave that did not recede for many months after Drew’s death. I didn’t know that my family and I would be fed three meals a day for weeks and weeks. I did not anticipate that neighborhood men would come to drywall the playroom, build bookshelves, mow the lawn, get the oil changed in my car. I did not know that my house would be cleaned and the laundry done, that I would have embraces and listening ears, that I would not be abandoned to do the labor of mourning alone. All I knew was that my neighbor was standing on the front stoop with her brownies and her tears:
she WAS the Good News.
from Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup