I interrupt my regularly scheduled blog post programming with this:

em • pa • thy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Today the universe was telling me something. It was telling me to grieve just a little today. It was telling me to think of what I went through in the days leading up to April 19, 1999 and in the years since.

I have been subscribing to a Melanoma group email dating back to 1998 when my then boyfriend was first diagnosed with Melanoma. Needless to say all these years later I’ve never unsubscribed but rarely read the threads. I mostly just hit the delete button and carry on with my day. But today I read it. And a woman announced sadly that her husband Wayne lost his battle this morning. Wayne was diagnosed 14 years ago and I remember clearly trying to offer support although I was literally deep in my grief as I had only been widowed a year or so at that point. I’ve honestly not even thought of that couple since. So when I read the news today I was struck with an overwhelming feeling. The definition of empathy seems to describe my initial reaction. My eyes welled with tears. I knew in that moment what her next few hours, days, weeks, months and years would be like. I knew because I’ve lived it. Sometimes it’s frustrating to have feelings brought to the surface like that…especially that I’m so far down the road. But then I realize how important it is for me—and for her. I can help her when she might feel like nobody understands. I can help her see that she too can carry on and thrive in the future. And that makes my loss less painful and more understandable.

Every single day there is someone grieving over the loss of someone or something…the death of a loved one, a friendship that’s grown distant, a divorce, heck even a running injury that causes a race cancelation. We need to be empathetic where we can. I may not understand the grief felt by someone who’s lost a parent, or who is divorced, but I sure do understand the loss of a spouse to Melanoma.

So today I pulled out Dickey’s picture, kissed his forehead, told him I missed him and that he’s always with me and then I put that picture back in the box. I was meant to grieve just a little today…and I was meant to help others through my loss.

10156017_10203578143955880_3033698985117140879_nTomorrow I’ll get back to my regularly scheduled programming =)

Thanks for letting me share.