Losing a loved one is the strangest kind of loss.
Grief is like a roller coaster. Someday's are gentle, the reminders of loss aren't so severe. We can even smile at a loving memory. Other days are so brutal, it feels like every man is for himself. Triggers go off without anyone else realising and the walls cave in a crushingly lonely way.
If you have never experienced loss, it will be hard for you to navigate your relationship with someone who is.
Here are 3 things that my community did for me that made me feel the most loved, safe, and comforted during my season of grief.
Be the friend that serves. Loss leaves a person vulnerable in every way - emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Minor everyday tasks become a daunting mission. The pressure to plan a memorial on top of that is incredibly overwhelming.
You can be a hero by:
Cooking a Meal.
Doing the Laundry.
Cleaning the house.
Making all the necessary phone calls.
If you are in a position to, gift financially. Or pay the bills.
Seriously, thank you.
BREAK UP THE PITY PARTY.
Grief can lead to a downward spiral. Your friend will need to be reminded of their WHY.
More than they need your sympathy, they need your strength.
A good way to help your friend out of their funk is to plan activities ahead of time. Maybe that looks like hosting a small movie night or dinner with trusted friends, enrolling in a sports team, or planning a simple vacation together. Anything that will encourage physical, mental, and spiritual stimulation will leak positive impact into their emotional wellbeing.
If activities aren't doing it, you might need to step up with a hard talk.
I remember being on the floor in a pool of my own tears, when a close friend strongly told me to think about what I want from life now. "You can't change your past. But you can focus on your present. You can focus on the now and it can be as hopeful as you choose!"
This takes patience and a lot of guts! So thank you.
ALWAYS CHECK IN.
It may have been a while since the "Loss". Maybe a few weeks, maybe even months.
Your friend might be showing signs of lightheartedness again, laughing at all your jokes, showing up to all the outings. Things might finally start to seem normal again.
Please do not ignore what might be going on behind closed doors.
Be the friend that still checks in. Ask the hard questions and be prepared to comfort or affirm every response.
Again, thank you.
LET GOD LEAD.
For my readers who are believers, pray.
We know the power of God can turn a hopeless situation into a hopeful one.
Ask God for the game plan.
Do not hold back from speaking life into this. That's exactly what this needs - LIFE.
Some days are going to feel taxing, but don't give up. Your friend needs Jesus in you. Shine your light and allow the immeasurable peace of God to soothe the ache of loss.
He is a good Father. And you're a good friend.
I hope this simple blog post sheds light on the trickiness of loss from both ends.
If you ever want to talk things through, maybe address an area I didn't mention, feel free to comment on this post or send me an email at email@example.com.
Thank you for reading.