It seemed like a simple enough question coming from a colleague over lunch last week. “Pretty good,” I told him and went on to share with him that I attended a program Sheila did last week where she spoke about her work in grief and loss.
To a room full of participants, Sheila shared about how, in our most difficult times, we have to look for and find the gifts from the pain and anguish we experience when we lose a loved one or find ourselves in a life crisis and which is detailed in her award winning book, Warrior Mother.
My lunch partner went onto tell me that for the past 20 years, ever since college, he has had a coach who has guided him through his career. She helped him with job decisions, consulted with him about his leadership style, and helped him navigate his work as CEO of his firm. No doubt, there was some personal coaching she had shared with him as well.
I told him she wasn’t just a coach, but a therapist. He nodded and laughed.
He went on to tell me that he had not spoken to her in over a year because she had been diagnosed with cancer. They had texted a few times, but he did not want to bother her while she was recovering. He missed her and wondered how she was doing.
I told him in no uncertain terms that he needed to call her. She would want to hear from him, to know that he was thinking about her, and to convey how important she was in his life. We often think, as he did, that when someone is sick, we are bothering them if we reach out to them. Nothing could be further from the truth. She needed to hear from him, and he needed to connect with her.
It must have been an idea he liked because he was quick to pick up the lunch tab.
About 3 hours later, he called me to let me know that he had called his coach and that they had a wonderful laugh filled conversation. She was thrilled to hear from him, and he was glad to hear that she was doing better. A gift to them both!
Sheila always says that grief and loss is one of the most difficult taboo topics that we still don’t talk about. It brings out our greatest fears that we would rather avoid or move away from but the inevitability of life’s pain and death makes it something we can’t avoid.
Your Challenge This Week: Reach out to someone you know is in pain and make a connection. It is not necessary to do anything more than to let them know you are thinking about them. That will be gift enough for the two of you.
© Richard Citrin, All rights reserved, 2019