When you’ve lost a loved one, those around you may struggle with what to say, since our culture isn’t comfortable with death and dying. Feeling awkward in the presence of emotional pain, we sometimes say things not entirely helpful, or maybe we say nothing at all, which isn’t always a bad thing.
“I’m Sorry For You Loss”
When I say, “I’m sorry for your loss,” what I’m really saying is that I have compassion for you, that I feel sad with you, that it hurts me to see you hurting.
The closer our friendship the more I feel your pain. I may or may not know what to say or do, but I certainly know that I’m hurting with you.
Helping The Helpless
Those experiencing deep grief may not be completely helpless, but almost. Maybe it’s the debilitating grief or the paralyzing numbness, but either way, those struggling with loss are struck with a diminished ability to think and function.
The people around them may not quite grasp it. Or maybe they do but soon they hear the call to daily life and on they go, leaving the stricken to manage as best they can. It’s how it is.
Some Suggestions For Helping
- Don’t overlook the value of presence, being there can be very comforting.
- A simple prayer can help: “Lord, bless my friend, I know he/she is hurting and struggling to understand. Help them to know how much they are loved and how much we care about them. Please stay close and give them a greater sense of your presence.”
- Try to anticipate their needs. What will they need in the next few days?
- Will their children need rides to and from school?
- Food brought in, a stocked refrigerator with easy to serve meals?
- Errands, yard care, airport pick up, phone calls, and so forth.
- Pitch in, do the dishes, straighten things up, do some laundry.
- Try not to ask, just do it if you can.
Some Suggestions For Being Helped
- In moments of great grief, its good to have good friends, if you do, let them help, let them serve, don’t be a hero.
- You will face some hard decisions: the funeral home, the arrangements, the service, as well as everything related to needed documents. It can be overwhelming. You will have to decide and determine a lot, and mostly only you can do it. So let your friends help you with everything else.
- Often, the most painful grief will be come after the funeral. The grieving will often slip into survival mode to focus on getting everything ready, and then after the funeral, and after everyone goes home, they fall apart. It’s okay, fall apart, grieve and let it out. It’s healthy.
Helping the helpless in their moments of grief can be challenging, even demanding, but it’s so very necessary. Just come along side and love them.
We need each other and we need to help each other to get through life. Its tough enough already, but doing it alone is beyond tough.
I’m so sorry for your loss.