Over the last year and a half, I've had four of my sweet friends each lose one of their amazing parents. Two beautiful moms and two charismatic dads taken far too soon. And it sucks. I don't know a better word to use or anyway to sugarcoat it because it does in fact suck. A lot. Your friend's life is now forever altered. Their fathers won't be there to walk them down the aisle or dance with them at their weddings. Their moms didn't get the chance to see them get their diplomas: one high school, one college. There are a lot of things their parents aren't going to get to see, and, like I said, it really sucks.
But just like your friend's life is altered, you yourself are now a little altered as well. Because you lost someone, too. Your loss by no means can compare to what they must be feeling, but nevertheless, you are changed, too. You lost a fan up in the stands on those game days who cheered just as hard for you as they did their own kid. You lost one of those cool parents who let you guys throw parties at their house and cuss in front of them. You lost a piece of your friend because you know that they will never be the same after this, and that's okay; they can't help the hand they were dealt.
But a lot can be learned by seeing your friends go through such difficult times. You learn to love a lot deeper and never take the people you love for granted. You learn to hold on to your parents just a little tighter because you never know when your last minute with them could be. You learn to let the little things go because they don't matter in the grand scheme of things. You also learn how to be a better friend. Being there for someone who has suffered a loss is hard. You want so desperately to take their pain away, but there is no possible way you could ever give them the kind of love their parent gave them. So you try other things. You do little stuff like shoot them a text saying that you're thinking about them. Or you ask them to go do something random like go buy some tampons with you.
Anything that could possibly take their mind off of what they're feeling for a fraction of a second. Because it's going to be hard for them. One day they could be totally fine and the next day have a breakdown because the toilet got clogged and that was always dad's job. Or the red shirt in the washer turned all their whites pink because they forgot to separate them- mom always did that. And when they call you sobbing, you don't ask say anything. You drop what you're doing and go unclog the toilet.
You joke on them for wearing a bright pink shirt, but drive them to the store to pick out some more white clothes. You just be the friend that they need and be their shoulder to cry on. Grieve for them but remember to grieve with them. Because if this friend is a real, true friend to you, their loss is your loss, too.