If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. Psalm 37:23-24
Have you ever lost someone you truly loved? Have you ever had to face the world without your loved one? Have you ever grieved so deeply that it hurt to the bone? It’s an unbearable pain, even physical when you do not even know if you can live another second , and the thought of going on without your loved one, makes it almost undesirable! I have, I know what it is like! I also know that there is no way that you can possibly relate to someone who is grieving unless you have experienced the pain yourself.
How does one go on? How does one develop the stupid term of “a new normal”? You don’t, you simply learn to exist in a world that is not understanding of the depth of your pain; at least in the beginning. If I was told thirteen years ago when I lost my brother that things were going to get better, I wouldn’t have believed it. It does slowly get to a point where you can get up and function, then moves on to a point where you are able to have moments of joy in your life, and maybe if your lucky, you will move to a point of living that is mixed with both joy and sorrow, but the point is your living. Don’t get me wrong, I will not lie to you there is always that sinking feeling of grief in your heart and soul, but it does get easier over time.
What do you say to someone who has just lost someone? How do you act around them? A lot of people have misconstrued notions with expectations when it comes to a grieving person, and although I do not have all the answers, I know what NOT to say.
Please do not say, Is there anything I can do for you? You know other than bring their loved one back to them, there is nothing you can possibly do for them, so it is best to just not say it. It is nice to say I am sorry for your loss. it is comforting to say that you will be there, and available to talk , even on the phone, when your friend or family member is lying awake at three am, missing their loved one. It is nice to continue to talk about their loved one. Saying their name aloud, keeping their memory alive. To a grieving person, the fear of forgetting their loved one is almost too much to bear.
It is amazing that others that are not grieving are afraid to talk about that person’s loved one for fear of bring up something that will cause pain in the grieved. It is the exact opposite, it is unbearable when people forget about the lost love one, and move on with their own lives, never bringing up the one who was lost. It is impossible for a person to move on with their lives. Although they keep living, they have never moved on, and never will.
The God of All Comfort
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,8 the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us9 in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives,10 so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation;11 if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.
The biggest mistake a person can make with another grieving person is to tell them it is time to move on! The quickest way to cause pain and anger for a person, is to say the unimaginable thing of “moving on.”
When holidays come, please be sensitive to them and their feelings. Do not expect a person to celebrate and be joyful during those occasions. While it may be a joyous time for you, it is an extremely painful reminder of their loss. Be careful and sensitive to that person’s feelings, now is not the time to send them Christmas cards with pictures of your family inside the card.
Be willing to sit and listen to the person who grieves. Let them tell you for the hundredth time “Do you remember when…” stories about their loved one. Allow them to show you pictures, and except and be all right with their tears.
I know that there is reason for everything, and God is in control. It is okay to tell them that, but do not be insensitive to possible anger they may have with God over their loss. If God understands their anger, and mourns with them, than it should be expected for you to do the same. Just keep reminding them that you are sorry for their loss, without saying I understand, unless you truly do with your own loss.