Being there for someone through loss

October 5, 2015

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.

being-there-for-someone-through-loss

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.

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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.

 

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  • Hannah October 5, 2015 at 8:59 am

    This is a great post. Oh what the power of prayer can do!
    -Hannah
    http://www.sweeterthanserenity.com

  • Amy Ann October 5, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Lovely post. It almost brings me to tears. We have had so many people love us as we walk through this season of infertility, and it has changed everything for the better. Thanks for sharing!

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  • Sarah @ Bows and Clothes October 5, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    This post is full of great ways to help! Thanks for sharing! Have a happy Monday!

    Sarah
    http://mybowsandclothes.blogspot.com/

  • Rachel October 5, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Great post, It is so important to be there and support other through a time of loss and separation. Encouraging other with kindness and love help them feel less alone.

    http://www.racheldinh.com

  • Jennie October 5, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    Rachel, this was a really good comprehensive list. So often it is difficult to know what to do when someone else is in pain. I will definitely keep this list in mind!

  • robincharmagne October 5, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Wonderful post. Love the suggestion to exercise, so many benefits overall!
    http://www.robincharmagne.com/blog

  • Della October 5, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    This is a wonderful post. It’s nice for others to know that we care and are praying for them. I love your list of ideas. Thanks for the shoutout. Hopefully we can be a blessing to others.

    Della @ Della Devoted
    http://www.delladevoted.com

  • Brooke October 5, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    This is such a sweet and important post. Dealing with a loss of any kind is so hard and we all need people like you who are willing to jump in and help them heal in any way possible.

    Brooke
    pumps and push-ups

  • Shannon October 5, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    Aw I am so sorry to hear that about your neighbor! All of these tips are so great! You are such a good friend!

    <3 Shannon
    Upbeat Soles

  • Shea October 5, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    This is such a thoughtful post, and I think everyone has been in a situation where someone close to them has suffered a loss. I know close friends who have had miscarriages, and I love the idea of giving a spa day so they can feel cared for and pampered. These are good ideas!

  • Christie October 5, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    I love your heartfelt posts, Rachel! Great tips! You must be an amazing friend!

    Christie
    The Closet by Christie

  • Shauna October 5, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    Beautifully written, and such a touching photo too -xx

    Shauna

    http://www.lipglossandlace.net

  • Johanna October 5, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    Such a great post…she is lucky to have you as a neighbor. Great tips.

  • Becky @ bybmg October 7, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Wonderful ideas. Watching children for someone can be such a blessing. I had a friend who went through a miscarriage last year and walks were the best for both of us to just talk since I have been down that road, too.