About two weeks ago my neighbor and good friend pulled into her drive way with her van loaded up with her kids, and noting the time to be early for her to come home I chit chatted with her and asked her if she would be getting off earlier each day from work. After a few words she finally pulled me close while looking in the direction of her children and she whispered, “I was let go today, but I don’t want to overwhelm my children with this knowledge right now” In that moment I embraced her and told her how sorry I was, as she held back tears and tried to remain strong.
I had been there. I had lost my job without notice…twice in my life actually. Once by a part time job in college (not real meaningful) and then my teaching job three years ago which really devastated me and caused depression.
On top of that my best friend of near 16 years went through a separation from her husband and will divorce in a few months. Then there are people I know who are just coming out about their past miscarriages or marriage issues. I had my own miscarriage 4 years ago, experienced several friends separate and divorce. I have dealt with family members or friends dying from both old age and sickness.
In the midst of all of this I read this wonderful post by Della, titled “How to help those who are grieving“. I loved Della’s list of ways to help others through their grieving and loved her examples of praying for them, bringing them food and especially the bringing a coffee and blanket to share.
I was inspired to come up with a list of recent ways I have been there with my grieving friends, neighbors or just family members in my past. I also included a list of how people were there for me when I grieved and what helped.
1). Pray for them. Della touched on this as well but reassuring them that they will be in your prayers is always a plus, especially if you are a believer.
2). If they have children, watch their children for them for a few hours or days. I did this for my neighbor who lost her job, just so she could have the house to herself, clean or do what she wanted and just be.
3). Offer to walk or exercise with them. This helped me as I loss my job, and this is something I did a lot with my friends who loss their husbands. Walking and staying active releases endorphin’s and can improve overall health and well-being. This gives a way to talk and release some stress as well.
4). Just be there. Listen to them, hug them, listen, give input or encouragement when needed. Let them cry. Go to a coffee shop or favorite place and enjoy time together.
5). Buy them or bring them food and items they may need or that would make them feel loved.
6). For a friend that dealt with a miscarriage a few years back, providing them a means to go to a Spa for a day of pampering was the best way to show love and care for her. For my own miscarriage I appreciated people being there and listening and crying with me, to me it was rude when people brushed it off.
7). Realize that some people repress how they feel but bring it up later on and be there for them when they are ready to talk it out. Examples, my husband was in the army and overseas in Afghanistan and his platoon lost 21 men due to different reasons. While my husband said he didn’t know the men I know it affected him because he could have been 1 of those 21 men lost. My husband even represses our miscarriage because it hurt him so much and he felt there was nothing he could do but just go through it with me (tears are welling up in my eyes typing that).
There are many other ways to be there for those dealing with loss and grieving but above are some of the ways I know I have shown that I care or had others do to show they care for me.
Matthew 11:28- “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”
Isaiah 41:10- “So do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand.”
How have you helped someone grieving? What did someone do for you through your loss or grieving?
*Special thanks to my sister Annalise for being my model for these photos.