Saturday, November 27, 2010

Having the Right Words for Those Grieving

I could go on for hours about the mind-boggling things that people said at the time of my sister's death and continue to say now 10 1/2 years later.  In her new book, Choosing to See, Mary Beth Chapman reviews this topic of people passing through the visitation for her 5 year old daughter, Maria. 

As Steven and I greeted the people who were able to come to the church, a lot of them didn't know what to say.  The thing that helped us most was when people would just hug us and say, "There are no words."

...Others would innocently try to connect our sorrow with some event in their own lives.  They were simply trying to relate the best they could.  But when people would say that they knew how we felt because they'd lost their dad or their mom or their grandmother, I felt numb.  I know that grief is grief and pain is pain...still, in natural order of this life we do tend to lose our parents and grandparents first.  Burying a five-year-old isn't in the usual order of things. 

...A couple of people actually told me they could sympathize with our grief because their dog or cat had been hit by a car.

Really?
A counselor at our church - who has suffered more grief than absolutely anyone should ever have to go through - said it is the responsibility of those grieving to help those who haven't.  He literally says to people after comments like the ones mentioned, "That comment was not helpful."  Can't say that I have ever done this but you never know!

The point?  Help those who are grieving by doing what you can to understand grief.  It will open your eyes and in turn bless those who are grieving. 

1 comment:

  1. thank you for this post. i never know what to say when someone is grieving, even though i have had loss in my life (i lost my dad when he turned 60, and my mom when she was 72).
    my aunt lost her 25yr old son 3 yrs ago, but still grieves like it was yesterday.

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