The first time I became aware of how unprepared I was to walk someone I loved through the dying time was 1996. My husband Fred Lankard was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March of that year and 100 days later he died.
Looking back, I see that it was a time of great confusion and helplessness and isolation and bewilderment. No one looking at us from the outside would have possibly guessed the depth of that.
After Fred’s death, I came across a book titled Jewish Insights on Death and Mourning. I am not Jewish, but I found myself envious of their rituals and traditions that make clear what is to be done by those grieving as well as those who are caring for the grieving. By doing what the law requires, the community reaches out to embrace and say, “You are not alone, we care about you.”