Initially, people call, text, check in, bring coffee, make sure you eat dinner. But soon, they talk only of normal, day-to-day things. And you stand there with holes in your heart saying “Yeah, it has been pretty warm for October, hasn’t it?” as if you aren’t just learning how to breathe again. Everyone else’s moving on makes you wonder –isn’t it about time I move on too?

At first, you bring it up often –almost as if to convince people [and your own self] that it really happened. But soon, you get the sense that it’s time to stop bringing it up. Time to stop being sad. Time to be fine. This quick return to normalcy communicates that it’s probably time for you too to be normal again.

But I have this friend and we have this agreement:
We are staying here as long as we need.

An ongoing invitation to be not-okay, not-over it, not-normal for as long as it takes. She and I have experienced very different kinds of pain, but we have this need for restoration in common. And restoration of all different kinds takes time –rarely the amount of time you planned for. Maybe the best thing we can give each other is as much time as it takes.

Sometimes the best thing you can say to someone in pain is I see you, I remember what happened, I don’t expect you to be over it if you aren’t ready. Sometimes we need to be reminded that it’s okay to not be okay. That the people around us haven’t forgotten our battles and bruises. So if you’re still sad, or still healing or just still breathing –you have plenty of time. It’s okay to have good days and bad days and both days, and you will. It’s okay to be right where you are. You can stay here as long as you need.

6 responses to “AS LONG AS WE NEED”

  1. Kendra D Bigley Avatar
    Kendra D Bigley

    I see you and I remember what happened. I don’t ask because I didn’t know it was OK or even good to ask. Thank you for writing and helping me see how to better care for someone in pain.
    ❤ K.


    1. Erin Quillen Avatar

      I’ve found myself in that situation often -it’s often hard to know whether to bring it up or let it pass, and likely depends on the person. Thanks for your kind words, Kendra❤️


  2. Danika Avatar

    I love you. Thank you for sharing this, it was very eloquently said. I look up to you in how you have handled your sorrow with poise and honesty.


    1. Erin Quillen Avatar

      I love you, sweet friend!


  3. bettycatherine Avatar

    Reblogged this on Bit o' Betty and commented:
    I needed this today ❤️Maybe you do too.


  4. Tammy Millen Avatar
    Tammy Millen

    I have experienced similar feelings/thoughts since the death of my sister (only a year and a half ago). At times I have felt guilty for being “fine”, at other times, I am hurting but feel odd bringing it up because the assumption is that I’m fine, or maybe should be. The “I see you”, “I know what you’ve been through” goes a long way. Or a simple…”How are you doing now?”. Grief is different in every stage and is a moving target. The things that needed to be said in the very beginning tend to change with time…but are still just as important. Thank you for articulating your journey. P.S. Take all the time you need to not be okay! XOXO


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