When something drastic occurs to the people we love, the first thing we want to do is do something.  Well, the first thing we want to do is be able to do anything because shock shuts everything down.  Then once we are able to function a bit we want to make it not have happened.  Ok so once your past all of that, there is the wanting to do something stage.  But what if there is nothing to do?  What if everything that can be done is being done by those that can do it?  What to do then?

There is something that can be done and different professions and cultures call it different things, but I call it ‘holding space’.  Holding space for someone or some situation is being prepared to do whatever it takes, being available to be whatever is needed, even if nothing is ever needed.  Just the act of being there creates a feeling of normalcy and support for the people involved that helps them get through things.  How many times have we heard the story of a family trauma or a victim of violence who got letters and cards and emails from strangers and it truly helped them to know that people were supporting them?  It’s true.  Sometimes people just need to know that someone besides themselves is paying attention, that someone cares what they are going through.  Sometimes they just need to be acknowledged, to have the pain and sadness and worry acknowledged, shared with another person.  Sometimes they just need to have who they are in that moment, in that part of their journey, acknowledged as true, as existing.

Holding space for someone may seem like nothing.  Thinking about them once in a while, sending a card, writing an email.  These are little things.  However they have a very great impact for the receiver.  Like most mammals, we humans are very good at hiding the pain, the emotion, the depth of what hurts us because to be vulnerable even emotionally is to invite more pain, more trouble, more difficulty.  A simple kind thought expressed to another, can make all the difference.