Saturday, April 26, 2014

What to Do when someone is Grieving...

Recently while stumbling through Facebook, after intending only to respond to a couple messages, I came across a friend of a friend's blog. And of course became soon lost and absorbed in this mother's story. I must say that her expression of hope and grief  touched my heart deeply.

For all those who have continued to ask me what to say and not to say to someone grieving... especially in a tragic, sudden death, I think this woman's beautiful response sums it up:
(Her blog grieving with hope is here. The specific post called enter into the pain is here.)

I had a precious friend write me this morning, and ask me this, “I am going to a funeral in the morning of a friend that has lost her son. Is there something that a friend said to you that took a little bit of the hurt away? “
And as I responded to her, I thought I would repost it here.  So many people have asked me what to say, what not to say, in this situation.  All of us want to help someone that is hurting so deeply, and yet we just do not know what to do or say.  What follows is my response to her…
Friend, you are so precious to want to take her pain away. Absolutely precious. But you can’t…there is absolutely nothing you can say or do that will put her shattered heart back together. Condolences are beautiful and well meaning, but they can seem trite when someone is in agonizing pain, as she is. I would just hold her, cry with her, tell her how sorry you are, and tell her you cannot even imagine how much pain she’s in.
And then check in…like you have done with me. Check in often, but check in, in a way that does not require a response. Text her that you’re thinking about her. Write her a card that relives a precious memory that you have of her son…with all of the details. She will weep, but it will mean so much to her. Text her months from now and tell her, that her child is not forgotten…that you will never forget.  And don’t forget him.  Check in occasionally reminding her that he is not forgotten, she is not forgotten. 
So rather than focusing on trying to take her pain away, be willing to enter into the pain with her, walk beside her, cry with her, laugh with her, remember with her. And in doing so, you will be taking away some of the pain.
As I was writing this, I was so aware of how many of you have done that for me…countless touch-ins that have enable me to breathe for another day, soothed my soul, pulled me out of darkness, caused me to weep healing tears, helped to glue pieces of my broken heart back into place.  Your touch-ins have been life giving, and your willingness to enter into my pain and sit beside me for however long it takes has enabled soul survival.
You all know who you are, and I will never be able to express my gratefulness or how much it has meant to me.  But know this…and know it is as true as the gospel itself…I could not do this without you.  Thank you for entering into my pain, and in doing so, helping to bear the parts I am not strong enough to bear alone.                (emphasis mine)
Thank you Alisa for your raw honesty and vulnerability. I can relate to those blessings of "touch-ins" as you so perfectly described it. Praying that the Lord comforts you as you draw closer to your one year anniversary and that you would continue to feel His nearness through all the days and years to come. Your Sister in Christ, Jennifer

No comments: