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Dots and circles

We have traveled to be with loved ones.

I am sorry for talking around the situation. I feel comfortable writing about my experiences of what’s going on, but it feels wrong to tell the full story because it belongs more to others.

A BIG thanks for your outpouring of support, love, light, prayers and warm thoughts. They are being received and they are truly working wonders.

From the time I heard the news until we arrived last night, I had this need, a pounding need, to know the sequence of events. How did people hear? What time? What led up to certain things? How did people react?

I needed to organize the bits. But it felt like I was connecting dots without being able to make a picture. Last night I was able to get that timeline from my sister, and consequently I slept well. It is comforting, for some reason, to turn the dots into a clearer image. Even though the image still doesn’t make sense.

Last night was also about letters. From one to many, and from many to the one. It was very cleansing, and I am so proud of The Tweens.

On tap today? A birthday party at noon. For the world’s best M&Ms organizer.

A few hours later, a viewing.

Talk about the circle of life.

Tomorrow we’ll hold a celebration of life.

We are surrounded by love and light. Among us and from those of you holding us in your hearts.

I am so touched to be held up by you all.


Question: what has been the most helpful thing someone said or did when you experienced a significant shock to the system?

Lori Holden, mom of a young adult daughter and a young adult son, writes from Denver. She was honored as an Angel in Adoption® by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Find Lori’s books on her Amazon Author page, and catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.

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24 Responses

  1. oh lori, I am so sorry for what you and your family are going through. I was glad to see you posted this update. wishing everyone some light and peace. as far as helpful things people have done for me in moments of shock — a strong meaningful hug, kind sincere words to let me know they were there in any way they could be, a good comforting meal, and follow-up when the flurry of attention has subsided. simply abiding, sitting and supporting without needing to fix. because there is no fixing to be done…

  2. I remember a therapist telling me that she had worked once with a girl who had suffered horrendous sexual abuse. However, she had been so well supported that she had been able to process it so it had nearly the same status as remembering a once badly broken arm. In other words, she was gifted with the best healing anyone can hope for. She was truly healed.I got a glimpse of how it is possible to heal from the most devastating of wounds, and to heal well and thrive.I think the people concerned here, in the context of the love and warmth your family provides, have the best chance for that kind of healing.Love.

  3. One of the best things- a strong hug that lasts a good long time. Also, a friend that hung on the phone with me even though I was sobbing so hard I was hyperventilating.

  4. And I am honoured to be among the many hands working to hold you up. May the events of today and tomorrow be healing and cleansing for everyone involved. As for your question – pretty much everything Luna said. For me, just knowing that others are abiding with me is so powerful. It is there I feel the most cared for, and there where I can see hope and light through the darkness. Much love to you, and you all continue to be in my prayers.

  5. Luna, your words are beautiful, as always.Lori, Sometimes a strong hug is more than I can take when I am unraveling at the seams. It can open up the floodgates of tears that had been surpressed. Sometimes I want that; Sometimes I don’t. A phone call with a listening ear on the other end, or better yet, a warm body sitting next to me on a couch, just being. Being attentive. Being aware. Is the thing that I value more than anything in a time of shock or despair. Oh Lori, I am so sorry for the flurry of activity and emotions that seem to be consuming your last several hours. I, too, am glad to see an update. And please know I am sitting here with you.

  6. I was told to wear white or a bright colour to my cousin’s funeral because she would have wanted to see all of the colours and not a sea of black. I think making this very strange ceremony personal made it easier for me. You know? Funerals are such a remote ceremony that you hope to never have to repeat. Bringing her into the ceremony and making it a moment about her (rather than a sterile sign of mourning) meant a lot.

  7. Lori, I’m just so sorry for all you and yours are going through and wanted you to know how much I am thinking of you.I want to echo what luna said. Those are all incredibly helpful things. Especially at a later time, when the shock has somewhat subsided and life seems to be going on for everyone else,to let them know you’re still thinking of them and there for them. To ask about favorite memories and to recognize painful days (birthdays, holidays, etc).

  8. Usually, when people die, they stick around for a couple of days or a couple of weeks and you can contact them, if you are open to that kind of thing. When one of my best friends from high school committed suicide, she came to me in a dream to tell me she was happy where she was. It was one of the most powerful messages I’ve gotten from the other world. I was feeling so horrible after just finding out, and then I had this incredible dream full of colors and happiness. I knew it wasn’t me. Another family member had a similar story of contact from her that sent chills down my spine. Although death is so final in terms of this body’s life, I believe that it doesn’t mean the end of your spirit as well.

  9. Just having people tell me they are with me and praying for me is so helpful. It makes me feel surrounded with love.I’m sorry you are going through such a rough time.

  10. A friend of mine was a guide for me in the territory of loss after my sister died. She of course had suffered a terrible loss herself.She told me to forgive my friends who may distance themselves from me. She said that in their minds I was associated with Death. And the existential terror that evokes is too much for some of them.It helped me to be prepared, and to understand that kind of odd sense of being marked, or branded after a deep loss.Mainly I think it was the hand of someone who had walked this road, offered in kindness that meant the most to me. I think of Glow In the Woods. That kind of raw, fierce, yet oh-so-tender comfort.

  11. Someone close to me chose the same exit a few years ago. I struggled for a very long time wondering how much despair they’d felt with so many unknowing. I’m very sorry, Lori.

  12. Lori – I am so sorry to hear of the recent sadness you and your family have suffered. My heart goes out to you and I am sending vibes of strength and peace your way.I think just having a few close friends around to bear witness is most helpful. Be present. Listen. Share. Commiserate. Acknowledge. You have the power and grace to do all these things. With aplomb. Thinking of you…

  13. The most helpful things for me:Something to the effect of “I am here with you, for as long as you need,” and also, “What do you need? Let’s make it happen.”The latter is particularly helpful when what you need is not typical. The day of my first miscarriage, I had plans to go shopping and to the farmer’s market with a good friend and her 3-year-old daughter. (I’ve been meaning to write a long blog post about that day, but for now here’s a recap of the relevant part.) This friend was someone who’d been with me every step of the way, and was the first person I told about my BFP POAS. When I told her about the M/C, she was appropriately concerned and loving. She said, “I totally understand if you want to cancel tonight.” I told her that I needed to go anyway, that I couldn’t let this news derail our plans. She said, “Then let’s go shopping! We can pause whenever you need, and we will do whatever you want to do. We can talk all about it, or we can talk only about happier topics.”She is the kindest person I know, and in the face of others’ crises, her kindness stands out even more.Nothing made that day okay, but for a few hours, being with her doing everyday fun things helped a lot, esp. because I knew that I could also address the big issue if I needed to, rather than keeping it in.I know that you will find the strength to pull yourself through this time and to help everyone else around you as much as you can.Take care.

  14. Not sure what has happened but I can surmise from teh glimpses you have posted. I am so sorry for your loss and the pain everyone is going thru. I think the best thing people did for me was be there after the frenzy. When all the people had gone, the meals and cards stopped then was when I needed someone the most. And I had several friends who were there weeks later when I had time/need/energy to fall apart.

  15. Still sitting here with you, doing what I can to be part of the group that is supporting you & your family thru this time. A couple of years ago, I went thru the absolute worst few months of my life. My world was turned upside down and inside out. And the support that meant the most to me was the handful of people that gave me a safe outlet for whatever it was I was feeling in the moment…. If I needed to cry, they gave me a shoulder. If I needed to break something, they bought me baaaaaaaaaad dinnerware from the dollar store (seriously… best girl’s night EVER). If I needed to forget, we’d rent chick flicks and drink too much. Most importantly, they were there, and they let me be me.I’m not sure how you translate that into your specific circumstances, but I know that your kind heart and patient soul will know the way.

  16. I know what it is like to wake up one morning and know that life as you know it ceases to exist. I am so sorry for the loss in your family. I will keep them in my thoughts and prayers.

  17. I’m sorry, Lori, for the loss, confusion, and every other hard moment going on at the same time right now. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.As far as ppl helping me in shock…when I sit and think about it, I believe that the best for me was having someone who may not have known exactly how I felt, but was content to just sit with me while I cried and talked (or sat in silence). My DH was great after my m/c b/c he sat on the couch and held me until I was done being held, and then listened when I talked.

  18. it was very simple. “You’re going to be OK.” That’s really all I could hear. … and it was a little muffled. But it echoes.You’re going to be OK.

  19. Lori, I hope that you and yours are coping. Or doing as well as can be expected. Still thinking about you.

  20. I am so late to reading this so I will just say that I hope you and your loved ones are doing well.In moments of crisis, I long to be validated. To be told, “This is very hard or sad or whatever and you have a right to be sad, angry or whatever.” Then like Luna said.

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