Half Sorrow

Posted on February 25, 2021 by shackelford under Uncategorized
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Molly Steinsapir was your typical 12 year old, with the possible exception of being a vegetarian.  She loved animals and aspired to be an actress . . . or maybe a politician since government was a special interest of hers.  And she enjoyed riding her bike, something she often did, always taking the usual precautions . . . riding with a friend . . . wearing a helmet.  That’s why it seemed so unreal when she had an accident while riding on the last day of January.

Molly would initially survive, but for the next two weeks she remained in critical condition in the UCLA Medical Center.  There were MRIs and blood transfusions, surgery more than once, consultations and prayer.  Lots and lots of prayer.  And all the while, Molly’s mother was reaching out to her friends and family . . . and to strangers who took notice of their suffering.  Hundreds of thousands of people on Twitter began following Molly’s story—and sending messages of encouragement, love, and hope.

At one point, Molly’s mother Kaye addressed the reason for her consistent, very public communication regarding her daughter’s accident and ensuing treatment.  I want you to pay close attention to her words because the point I wish to make isn’t about Molly’s accident or her family’s struggle in its aftermath. It’s about what Kaye said.

“Some of you wonder why I share what is happening to us. Writing and sharing my pain helps to lessen it. When I’m sitting here in this sterile room hour after hour, your messages of hope make me feel less alone. Even my husband, who is very private, likes reading them.”

Writing and sharing my pain helps to lessen it . . . in other words, pain shared is pain divided.  Those words originated as part of an old Swedish proverb, “Shared joy is a double joy; shared sorrow is half sorrow,” and I’m not sure any truer words have ever been spoken.  When Life presents us with moments of joy, we naturally want to share them with the people we love; we want them to celebrate with us—to experience the happiness we feel.  But for some reason we are less inclined to share our sorrows.  Maybe we think our openness will make those around us uncomfortable.  Maybe we have the mistaken idea that no one really wants to hear about our struggles.  Whatever the cause, when we insist that no one accompany us as we travel the road mapped out by grief, it only makes the journey that much more difficult.  The comfort and support of family and friends and yes, even strangers, can reassure us that we are not alone in our grief.  And that grief often begins long before Death’s ultimate arrival.  If you don’t believe me, ask anyone who has ever waited and watched as someone they love slips away.

For two weeks Kaye kept the world informed of Molly’s struggle . . . for two long, hope-filled, prayerful weeks . . . until February 15th.  On that day, Molly’s brief stay on this earth ended.  Hundreds of thousands of people who had no clue who Molly Steinsapir was until January 31st, who have never met Kaye or her husband Jon and probably never will, are grieving with them because Kaye chose to share her sorrow.  And her path, though still unimaginably difficult, will be made a bit easier because she chose not to travel it alone.



About the author:  Lisa Shackelford Thomas is a fourth generation member of a family that’s been in funeral service since 1926.  She has been employed at Shackelford Funeral Directors in Savannah, Tennessee for over 40 years and currently serves as the manager there.  Any opinions expressed here are hers and hers alone, and may or may not reflect the opinions of other Shackelford family members or staff.

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