Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Let ME Help YOU

I have heard some of my dear friends express feelings of helplessness during the last few weeks. Sometimes they tell me point-blank that they don't know what to do or what to say. Sometimes the expression is a little more subtle. Sometimes I wonder if people are avoiding me because my grief makes them uncomfortable or because they just don't know what else to do. I came across a series of ten posts on How to Help Your Grieving Friend written by Molly Piper. The series doesn't take long to read through and it's well worth it. I have read each and every post & can say that they offer excellent insight into how grief upends someone's life.

Let me know if you find something particularly insightful.

Proud to Call You My Friends~


Erin said...

Thanks for the link. If I was honest with you, I am more afraid of saying the wrong thing than I am afraid of just saying anything.

I analyze EVERYTHING that I type or write to see if the way I write or the way it could be read could hurt you. I did this with Kara too.

I think that because I care so much, being the friend that "said something that wasn't great" would be devestating to me. There would be no amount of apoligizing that would cover me.

With all that being said, I think that the worst thing that can happen would be for people who are worried about hurting you is to hurt you by just not being there.

And I am probably not the only one who thought about calling but wondered if it was too soon.

I will read these posts that you linked.


Anonymous said...

Thanks friend.

Joan Carr said...

Still praying and talking to the Father about you and your family. I have been thinking of Olivia in how she must have touched so many lives as I see "Johanna" doing.

I've got hugs flying through the air to you right now, they should arrive any minute now.

chadandnikki said...

I understand what you are saying about people avoiding you because they don't know what to say. Or, on the other hand they say something totally off the wall. I am thinking of you often, and praying for you just as often.

Jess said...

I lost my son to Trisomy 18 and what I found/find the worst is people not being sure what to say so they often just say NOTHING. Believe me, I don't want or expect my son to be the topic of conversation all the time. And I don't need to hear anything really insightful. A simple comment like, "I've been thinking of you and Samuel today," is INCREDIBLE to hear. This is especially true around holidays.

Also, I think it is important for your friends to try to understand that your grieving won't be over in a few weeks or months. This time next year, you will still be thinking about your baby everyday.

I am praying for you and your family.


Jess said...

Also wanted to share a quote that I think is very true:

"Mentioning my baby's name may bring tears to my eyes, but it never fails to bring music to my heart."

So often I think people don't mention your baby because they're scared of making you upset. But the truth is that you're already thinking about your baby and the tears are just part of this process.

Anonymous said...

helpful link even for me. crying and praying and thinking of you and olivia today.

love mom

Andrea said...

Thanks for the link. Molly's writing on grief is helpful (and very un-textbookish which is nice) for both the griever and the friend. These are the things that are hard to articulate while you are grieving and yet you just want someone to understand. She's put it into words and reading it even reminded me that the grief I still feel is normal (whatever "normal" means), even if no one in my day to day quite understands it. It's good to be reminded that there's no formula.

And it's great for the friend because I think until someone has experienced grief, they just cannot know what to do (or not do).

I was in junior high when my dad died and being 13 is awkward enough without trying to figure out how to grieve. I *know* I made the other students uncomfortable with my pain because they avoided me, but I couldn't help crying at school. I had no frame of reference for how to handle it and everyone at my home was grieving too so it was hard to talk about it a lot at home. But I had this awesome friend who sat beside me and walked with me and didn't really say much and that made all the difference. She was just there. I think sometimes the best thing you can do for someone is give them the freedom to cry in your presence. After all, life is not all sunshine and fun. Grief and loss are just as much a part of the journey and it should be ok to feel them as well. We should not view someone's tears as an interruption to our otherwise happy life, but accept it all because that's what they've got at that moment.

Sorry to write a book but those links really spurred some thoughts over here. I especially like the part about how "she can't grieve on command." So important to remember. And I would add that just like someone can't grieve on command, it can also suprise you at the happiest of unrelated events.

Case in point...I didn't cry at my own wedding or graduations because I missed my Daddy. But at a friends wedding last year (15 years later) I left the room sobbing after watching her dance with her dad. It was weird even to me but I've learned to just go with it. I didn't want to ruin her celebration so I got out of there without making a scene but I needed to feel that particular bit of my loss for the first time and move on from it. All in God's timing I guess.

Hope that makes some sense and wasn't too rambly. I'm between jury duty sessions. Joe and I are praying every day. I know I don't know you guys that well and I'm sure I won't always say the right thing but I SO appreciate your honesty in this time of your life. It's amazing and so encouraging!