Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sometimes a stranger is better company than a friend

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



Barbaloot said...

I'm sorry to hear about your uncle.

I think sometimes it's easier for us to talk to strangers---we can kind of unload our emotions, but we don't have to worry about it being an issue further down the road. If you talk to a close friend/family member they'll always remember that part of you-and that can be too hard.

Deb said...

i totally agree. i also think that, for me, it is easier for me to open up to a stranger because i don't have to worry about the whole "how will they take this?" or "what will they think of me?"

Aracely said...

Sorry about your loss CJ. I already consider you to be one of the most considerate bloggers I've ever come across.

Debbie said...

Don't we find that happening through our blogs daily?

Anonymous said...

i'm sorry for your loss too and i'll be your stranger anytime you need one :)

Wendyburd1 said...

I am so sorry about your uncle. Here is where I have found some of the best strangers ever. And while I may not consider them all strangers now, they can be there more than people I see all the time!

Claremont First Ward said...

I'm sorry to hear that your uncle passed........yet how wonderful that a co worker was there for you when you needed it.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

That is so true. And profound.

I have often thought the very same thing.

I'm sorry about your uncle. God Bless!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about your uncle. Sometimes I think there can be a delayed reaction to traumatic events too.

As for the stranger idea, I have shared more about myself on my blog than I probably ever have to my real world friends. It's weird that way.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about your uncle. I've been going through some stuff that I can't really blog about - my little two year old nephew may have a tumor in his brain and it's been really rough - I can't really blog about it because my brother is real protective about his kids, but maybe a prayer from a stranger may help him.

KatBouska said...

I bet a lot of us can really feel what you are saying here. How many of us bloggers have connected with people through our computers that can have been through what we've been through and can "listen" on a different level. I definitely feel that support from my bloggy friends!

Anonymous said...

I've had a few similar experiences. I just needed your post to remind me I guess. Back when AOL what the thing, I met a girl in a chatroom and we were friends for two years. We talked every day and she was the person I would tell almost everything to. Then she joined the Army. I agreed to give her my address (we'd never talked other than online) sso that she'd write to me throughout bootcamp. She had no family support and no close friends. I was thrilled to be her comfort and started writing her as soon as I knew she was gone.

Many months later, no letters to be found in my mailbox, my mom asked me a few times if I had a boyfriend in the military. Everything clicked. She had been keeping Aubry's letters, three of them, for fear of them being from some guy, much older, or likely to hurt me somehow. I wrote back to the return address before I even read the letters. Eager to let Aubry know I hadnt forgotten about her, and let her know the reason for my absence. I never got a response. She had already been moved from boot camp.

My mom and I never really talked about it, but I can't say I've ever been ok with what she did.

-I've also never told anyone that story before lol.

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