So often we look for support from those who know us well. Sometimes that support is not as helpful because those who know us well may only say things we want to hear rather than what we need to hear.
I got a phone call from my mother one Sunday night telling me that my uncle had collapsed, was taken to the hospital and was currently in a coma. From previous experiences with my wife's family, I am familiar with what that meant and knew that the inevitable would happen. Being that my wife is older than I she has experienced the loss of an elder such as a parent or an uncle— whereas this was my first elder to have this happen to.
By the time Tuesday rolled around, I still had not heard any word about my uncle's status and it troubled me that I wasn't as effected as I thought I should. I gave a co-worker a call to see if they thought this was normal— and as I was explaining that my uncle collapsed I hear "get over here!" on the other end. I went over to their desk and I explained again. They hadn't lost an elder either— and would probably be devastated since they are very close to all their aunts and uncles. I thanked them for lending an ear and proceeded to get back to work.
The next day I had to chuckle a bit seeing the subject of the e-mail "How's your Uncle?" from my fellow co-worker— but I knew what it meant. I was honored by how a simple followup could be such a powerful show of support— especially from someone who is not my friend.
My uncle did pass that Thursday and I thanked my co-worker for their show of support. I am glad that some people can be that stranger to those in need.
Sometimes a stranger is better company than a friend
I can be your stranger