Showing Up

 

Woody Allen famously said that “eighty percent of success is showing up.” But sometimes showing up is more than eighty percent – it’s the whole ball game.

This past week tragedy struck my husband’s family when his younger cousin James died suddenly, devastating his wife and two children, mother and sister. He was irreplaceable and his absence will be with them forever.

Friends and relatives rallied around the grieving family, bringing meals, caring for the kids, and assisting with funeral arrangements. My husband cut his trip to France short so that he could attend the funeral. Meanwhile, I recruited five different families to help with our three kids so that I could also make the trip to San Diego for the service. Friends and family from all over the country came and filled the many chairs on the bluff overlooking the Pacific.

Why was it so important that we be there? There was nothing we could say or do that would make it better or that would make sense of the loss. But that’s not the point. The point is that for those who are bereaved, life as they know it has just stopped. And the least that the rest of us can do is drop everything for one moment and support them.

All too often we don’t call or write or show up because we don’t know what to say. This awkwardness we feel is principally about us – our own sadness and discomfort, perhaps our egos, our desire to say the “right thing.” But if we put our attention on those in need, we know that our own discomfort is irrelevant. We must reach out and simply be there for them.

We stand with the grieving family and pay tribute to the life that was extinguished. We show up.

May James rest in peace and may his family find comfort.