ace to face, people didn't seem to know what to say. On Facebook, friends, family, friends of friends, even people we had never known shared their deepest feelings of loss and pain with Emma, on her page, in the same way they had shared their happiness - out loud, in writing, without a care who was reading over their shoulders.
Martin Heidegger wrote about how death awareness (the "nothing") enables us to shift to a mode where we simply appreciate that things are (the "being there"), as opposed to worrying about how or what things are. Allow me to translate that quote into the language a 20-something might understand -- YOLO!
When I was first married, my mother sent along a recipe box filled with her favorite recipes, all handwritten in her familiar slanting cursive. It is the one thing of hers that I cherish most. I have a piece of her, her handwriting, an occasional Post-it note stuck to a recipe with additional helpful tips. It's as if she's still standing right there in my kitchen, a glass of wine in hand, and we're laughing about something silly we once did.
Truth be told, grief makes a lot of people uncomfortable. It's hard to see someone you care about torn up emotionally. It's natural to want to fix them, but that's just not possible. Therefore, the most helpful thing you can do for someone who is hurting is to offer to just be there for them in whatever capacity they need.