A friend of mine has suffered an unspeakable loss. I’ve been reeling since I heard the terrible news last night. An unexpected tragedy suffered by someone I like and respect has rudely interrupted my vacation, shattering the peace and tranquility of time spent at the shore. 


My heart is heavy as my friend joins a club for which no one wants a membership. I’m instantly transported, despite my best efforts against it, to the time of my mom’s death, and all the sadness and grief that entails. Nearly 8 years later, I’m instantly transported back to the worst time of my life, via a friend’s shared loss of her beloved family member. While I can’t fathom her exact experience, I know enough to know that her heart will never again be whole, her life will never be the same.


I draw much comfort from quotes. The words of those more eloquent than myself soothe and calm me during tragedy. A couple come to mind as I walk silently behind my friend in her grief. A few steps removed, trailing her with flowers and cards and support and whispered words for the inevitable falter in her step as she attempts to move forward toward a life wildly shaken.


“Grief is the price we pay for love.” — Queen Elizabeth II


“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” — Khalil Gibran

While we can never understand why such tragedies strike, I do know one thing: I agree with Queen Elizabeth and Khalil Gibran on both counts. However, I wish more than anything that my sweet friend did not have to pay the price or become a strong soul in such a terrible way.






17 Comments on “Tragedy”

  1. David Benbow says:

    I’m so sorry. There are some wounds that time cannot heal.

  2. I’m sorry for your loss and that of your friend.

  3. i am so sorry, both for the loss your friend has suffered, and for you, as you know so well the pain your friend now knows because of the loss of your mother. i know how helpless you must feel – there are no words, only love, and your friend will feel that as you do all you can to be by her side. i wish you both solace and grace and comfort.

    love, XOXO

    Karen, TC

  4. Christy says:

    I’m sorry 😦

  5. Susan says:

    I’m heartbroken for Mary, too. To be so impacted by a school guidance counselor in just two short years at APE, to call her my friend, and to know I’m one of thousands who consider her their friend, too. She loves those boys so much. The unfairness to whom tragedy strikes is maddening. Thankfully, she will be surrounded by friends who can lift her up when she can’t stay up on her own.

  6. Barb Fernald says:

    I’m so sorry. The only thing that seems to take aways some of the pain is time. Since you say you find comfort from quotes I want to send you the words of a poem that comforts me when anyone close to me dies. We have read it on nights when we release luminaries that we float out to sea in memory of many who have passed. This poem is especially poignant as the lighted bags float away from shore.

    Gone From My Sight
    by Henry Van Dyke

    I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
    spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
    for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength.
    I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck
    of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

    Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone”

    Gone where?

    Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
    hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
    And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

    Her diminished size is in me — not in her.
    And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,”
    there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
    ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!”

  7. mmr says:

    Beautiful poem. One of my favorite sayings after losing loved ones young and old in the past few years: No time on earth is long enough to be with the ones we love, or to prepare our hearts for goodbye. Wishing peace and solace for your friend. She is lucky to have you helping to hold her up. She will stand up tall and walk again and laugh and see beauty, just like we have.

  8. I’m so very sorry for your friend, and for the grief you are also feeling.

  9. jbaird says:

    Nancy, I am very sorry for your friend. We all wish there were some way to rewind the clock or provide instant comfort, but grief doesn’t lend itself to those quick fixes. I agree also with those poignant quotes. Thanks for sharing them. xoxo

  10. Adding my own thoughts of solidarity to the other comments here and a thank you for writing this post Nancy. The other thing that grief and sorrow do is make us more compassionate with others – though it’s a “gift” that is hard earned

  11. […] The Pink Underbelly shares a personal account of a tragedy suffered by a close friend and reading it made me think about all the pain and grief which so many of us are experiencing right now. It’s important to be able to share it with others.  Many times I have found that when I do share it, I am overwhelmed with kindness and support – the subject of Jocelyn’s blog on cyberkindness. […]

  12. AnneMarie says:


    I am SO sorry. My heart is heavy with the grief you carry for your friend. Sending cyber love and support…


  13. I came by catch up with your blog and to leave a little link of whimsey, to find such sadness. I am so sorry.
    I hope this little pig can bring you a smile. xx

  14. I am just catching up with your posts. I’m so sorry for your friend’s loss and I’m really sorry for your pain too. Perhaps you’d like to read this recent post of mine. Being a friend to someone who is grieving deeply is really hard, but so appreciated and so needed. Hugs to you both.

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