I’ve had to watch more than one of the exes go through an incredible loss. Mostly I just tried to be available, and didn’t know what to say, but if I could go back and tell them what I know now, I might have said something like:
Dearest heart, I am so sorry you have to go through this. I wish, more than anything, that I could take away the suffering for you.
It hurts. I know. It hurts so much you can barely see straight. It hurts so much that it’s all you can think about. It hurts so much that you wonder how you’re going to go on. I know. Hold on– to your family, to your memories, to me. I’ll hold on too, and I won’t let you go.
I know it doesn’t seem like it now, but someday, you’ll have room in your heart for something other than the pain of loss. You’ll laugh at jokes again (and without the bitter aftertaste of guilt over enjoying life when the person you love isn’t in it anymore). When you wake up, you won’t have to re-remember that he’s gone, over and over again. In time, you’ll grow around the loss.
Until then, though, I know what you’re going through, I’m here for you, I love you.