My barber died last Saturday – sudden, unexpected. I had been going to him for some 25 years. The shock and disbelief cut through me. Visiting your regular barber is one of those odd friendships. You see each other only occasionally, your time together often silent, punctuated only with the occasional conversation. The sense of mutual respect peculiar to the relationship between a man and his barber.

My sadness was of course nothing compared to the wave of grief that flooded over his extended Italian family and friends. I turned to what I do best - write. Like a lone wolf baying to the moon, I unloaded my feelings on Facebook. ("More than my Barber").

What happened then was beyond my wildest belief. My post was shared and shared and shared…over 50 times. It reached over 500 people – Paul’s immediate family and their vast enfolding Italian community. “I don’t know you Peter but thank you for your healing words”… “had to share this touching status, thank you Peter”… and the ultimate compliment: “suggested the family print, laminate and display your amazingly appropriate verse…your words are heartfelt and healing”.

Healing. Words that did more than express my feelings. They offered healing to a family and community in their darkest hours of grief and loss … at a time when healing would seem distant.

There are times for each of us when we know why we are on this earth. For me this has been one of the most powerful of them.

Never ever underestimate the healing potential of heartfelt words.

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