A response to a grieving friend may be the best Internet comment.
Upvoted is a web publication from Reddit, and the most compelling content on its website is the recently republished “classic” article, which was first published around 2011. This exquisite article was prompted by a commentator’s response to the poster asking for sad advice.
The original post read simply: “my friend just died. I don’t know what to do.
Here is the motion of redditor GSnow:
“Well, here we go. I am old. That means I have survived (so far), and there are many people I know and loved. I have lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, colleagues, grandparents, mothers, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and others. I have no children, and I cannot imagine the pain of losing a child. But this is my two cents.
I wish I could say you’re used to dead people. I’ve never done it before. I don’t want to. Whenever and wherever, whenever and wherever, I love me. But I don’t want it to be “unimportant.” I don’t want it to be passed. My scar proves the love and relationship between me and that person. If scars are deep, so is love. That’s it. Scars are proof of life. The scar is my deep love, deeply alive, cut, even cut, I can heal, continue to live, continue to love proof. The scar tissue is stronger than the original meat. Scars are proof of life. For the invisible, the scar is ugly.
As for sadness, you will find it choppy. When the ship is first destroyed, you are drowned, and there are debris all around. The things floating around you remind you of the beauty and grandeur of that ship, and now it’s gone. All you can do is float. You’ll find some wreckage, you hang out for a while. Maybe it’s something practical. Maybe it’s a happy memory or photo. Maybe it’s a floating person. For a while, all you can do is float. Alive.
At first, the waves were 100 feet high and ran into you without mercy. They’re 10 seconds apart, not even giving you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe a few weeks, maybe a few months, you’ll see that the waves are still 100 feet high, but they’re further apart. When they come, they still run into you and wipe you clean. But in the middle, you can breathe, you can work. You never know what will happen and cause sadness. It could be a song, a picture, an intersection, a cup of coffee. It could be just about anything and the waves would collapse. But between waves, there is life.
In one place, everyone is different, and you can see that the waves are only 80 feet high. Or 50 feet tall. And they’re still coming, they’re further apart. You can see them for an anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or a landing at o ‘hare. You can see most of it and prepare yourself. When it hits you, you will know that somehow you will come out of the other side. Still hanging on a small piece of ground, but you will come out.
Get it from an old guy. The waves never stop, and somehow you don’t want them. But you know you’ll survive. Other waves will come and you will survive if you are lucky, you will have a lot of love scars. There are many wrecks. “