Today, I know now, more than ever before, how grief can make love ones and people in general that sincerely care about you very uncomfortable. My desire is to take this time to share with others who know and care for someone that is in the midst of grief. I pray that these tips would be a guide for us to walk this journey of grief with others.
First and foremost, it is very important to understand that everyone grieving process is not the same and it belongs to the griever. Therefore, it is essential for others to try to understand, respect, and honor that the best way they can.
For me personally, three ways I learned that I desired to be comforted by families and friends were:1) to acknowledge that my love one just passed away, 2) to be physically present, 3) and to listen more than talking.
First – most of us mean well and we are truly uncomfortable when we know someone we care about is experiencing a great amount of pain. Most people don’t know what to say or do. However, avoiding the person and remaining quiet is not helpful at all. When you see your hurting loved one, acknowledge the death of the loss one. One struggled or fear of the bereaved is the thought of losing all connection and memory with our love one since he or she is no longer here with us. Saying, “I am so sorry for your loss (by name),” means the world to the griever. Also remembering the death of the anniversary/special holidays and reaching out to the griever is very thoughtful.
Second – Your presence means so much to the bereaved. Your presence demonstrates that you care enough to come in to be with them in their grief during the most devastating life changing experience one will ever face on this earth. Galatians 6:2 commands us to carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you fulfill the law of Christ. We do that by making ourselves available to the griever. A helpful way is to show up without being asked. Show random acts of kindness towards them without being asked. For example, bringing over a meal, cleaning up the yard, or picking up a basic item of groceries that we normally used. It will ensure them that they are not alone and that you are thinking of them.
Third –In a time of grief, it is better to listen than to speak. I know we mean well by speaking. Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will break our heart. There is so much truth to this quote by Robert Fulghum. James 1:19 states “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” I personally agree with James for saying this especially when one is grieving they just want you to listen? I know you want to help but this person is in so much pain that your good intentional advice or unthinkable words can cause much more damage than good. The honest truth is you don’t understand, so be okay with that and just listen.
My prayer is that family and friends will be more sensitive to the person that’s grieving and be more intentional to love, support, encourage, and give grace in abundance to them. Also, pray for your friends and family. Remember it is not about you. The reality is we all at one point or another on this side of the earth will have to walk through this path too.
1 John 3:18 states, Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
RIP to all the love ones that recently passed.