What can I do?…
Have you ever experienced a situation where you didn’t know what to do or what to say? You were at a loss and nothing you could say or do seemed right? All of us have faced situations where we feel this and many times we just do nothing because we are worried about doing or saying the wrong things.
As a widow, I speak with people on a daily basis, who ask me questions about how to handle people who are facing grief. They tell me they are afraid of saying or doing the wrong things. They truly want to help, but they don’t know how or even where to start. Their hearts are in the right place, but they are afraid, so they often don’t do anything.
When I have these conversations with people, the first thing I tell them is that nothing you say is going to take away the pain. Nothing you do is going to make the loss any less. Then I tell them, to make sure they do or say something. Don’t ignore the situation, don’t ignore the grief and don’t ignore the pain because that is the worst thing you can do.
Say “I’m sorry for what you are going through.” Don’t say, “it will get better” or “I understand exactly how you feel.” I encourage people to not pretend like the loss didn’t happen. Don’t pretend like everything is okay. I also encourage them to show up and be part of the lives of those that are grieving.
If you know someone that has recently lost a spouse or someone close to them, don’t tell them to “let you know if they need anything,” instead let them know you are going to bring them dinner tomorrow night. Tell them you are going to pick them up for coffee next week. Offer to come and mow their yard on Saturday. Let them that you are praying for them and would love for them to sit with you in church on Sunday. Do concrete and real things. Use words that let them know you truly care and then, most importantly, show them you care.
I can promise you that those things that you do and/or say may seem trivial and small to you, but they will not be trivial or small to those that are hurting. You may be afraid and you may worry that you will say the wrong thing, but hurting people need people who care. The day you show up and bring them that meal, may be the day they haven’t been able to get out of bed because they were sobbing uncontrollably. The day you ask them to sit by you in church, may be the day that they sat in their car for 30 minutes contemplating even going to church because they couldn’t face being around people.
You can and will make a difference and it doesn’t take great or grand gestures, it just takes love, availability and being willing to face grief with those around you. Show up and I promise you will be a light in a very dark journey!
Amy Woody brings her personal experience and passion for helping others to her work with widows. She wants you to never forget you have a purpose and a God-given calling placed on your life, no matter what you've been through! Use your hurt to help others!