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By Beate Chelette

Today is the day to face up to responsibilities. Like any other day. Still, this one is different. I am sitting here in my living room waiting until it’s time to go to Louella’s service.

I was on vacation in the British Virgin Islands when I received a note from Melissa that said, “Call me when you get this.” I knew immediately what had happened, and before calling Melissa, I checked her mother’s — my friend’s — Facebook page. She had passed away peacefully.

She died peacefully, but she is no longer here. And she leaves behind a daughter whom, as many of you know, I’ve taken under my wing. My feelings are all over the place. A part of me is almost glad that it’s is over. Because now the inevitable has happened: Louella has died. No miracle occurred, no spontaneous healing took place, the worst-case scenario unfolded.

I am not afraid of death. When my father passed away I had a vision that will stay with me for the rest of my life, a vision about the great beyond, the next and inevitable phase for all of us. I have known for a long time that there is something that comes after this. But still, I am in pain — for Melissa, for her sisters, for her mother, for their lives, for my friendship with them all.

Melissa and I were able to find time to have lunch together in the week after her mother passed away. I am strong. This meeting however took all I had. I didn’t want to cry or lose it in front of my young friend.

Why is it do you think that there are circumstances where we feel safe to let our pain show while at other times we are so bottled up about it?

Maybe you’ve been there, and you can offer advice. Is it better to show my grief in such a public way, or should I follow my instinct and remain strong, that is, quiet and stoic? Honestly, sometimes being strong gets to be a burden. Where do we find balance between giving and getting?

The infinity sign goes both ways

Can you relate to this scenario? You are a giver. You love to give. You give freely and find great joy in recognizing how other people derive joy from the things you do. If someone needs help you are the first one to offer help. You help even when you aren’t asked. Your contributions are sometimes appreciated and other times they go unnoticed. What do you do then?

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