Tragedy hits; who do you reach out to? Who will reach out to you? You might be surprised.
Our dear friends lost their son in a car accident and our community is mourning the loss of this beautiful soul. Their lives, and the lives of so many this young man's energy and love impacted, are forever changed. But that's not the point of this story, because his family and those closest to him will tell it themselves.
It's Their Story
People who have experienced tragedy will tell you that those who they believed would be there for them often disappear, while people they weren't particularly close to were the ones who showed up.
There are many reasons for this, and I've written a lot about that theme over the years. But the biggest reason I can share is that people are uncomfortable with grief. That discomfort comes from knowing how unpredictable life can be - that it could be them, and it comes from not knowing what to say or do, and not being able to make things better.
But those who show up make the difference. Though it's disappointing when those you thought would be there aren't, the extraordinary beauty of those who DO show up shines a light like nothing else can.
The only light I've been able to see, the only comfort I've been able to find as my friends absorb this new reality is that they are surrounded by the love and light of their community.
Over the years I've known them, they've shared themselves, their love, creativity, and vibrant appreciation for life with everyone they come in contact with, anywhere. My friends transformed friends into family at every opportunity by nourishing people at their dining room tables, through their art, and over miles and miles of outdoor adventures. They created their tribe for just this moment, this time when they need them.
This tribe will not disappear at the scent, sound, and thick fog of grief. This tribe will show up, at all hours, at any moment and in any location to be there for our friends. We will grieve together, and know when and how to leave room for the grief of the parents and sibling, which is unlike any other grief.
This tribe will never - ever - utter the words: "I know how you feel." Because they know, without a doubt, that they can't know.
It Could Be Your Story
Do you have a tribe? Have you cultivated with generosity, kindness, and love a community you know will show up when you need them?
Just like a business network, if you wait until you need them when you are unemployed or underemployed, you will be lost for much, much longer than you would have been had you maintained and nurtured those connections.
We may feel very connected to those we know online, but if we're not spending time in real life with real people, we're not building the kind of tribe I'm talking about here.
Build your tribe before you need them. Reach out to those you feel connected to and nurture those relationships. Spend time face-to-face, schedule dates of walks, lunches, and silliness.
Make time now, because you may not have tomorrow.
*This post is dedicated to the memory of the sparkly, deeply intelligent, beautifully loving man lost on December 13, 2017, Kyle Boundy, and to his family and friends who will be forever changed for having experienced his love.*