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How to Help a Grieving Friend / What to Say

In honor of the 13th anniversary of my Mother’s death, I want to share with you a series that was written by a young Mom who had a still born daughter in 2007.  Its a great series entitled How to Help Your Grieving Friend.  There are 10 posts in the series and I would encourage you to read them all.

Here are the titles to entice you to jump over there and read her series.

  • Just Know That She’s Exhausted
  • She’s a Scatterbrain
  • There is No Timetable
  • She May Explode (But Probably Not)
  • She Can’t Grieve on Command
  • Ask Her Specific Questions
  • Avoid the Flippant Comfort of Hallmark Answers
  • Always on my Mind
  • 10 Tips for Bringing Meals to a Grieving Friend
  • Cleaning Her House is Next to Godliness

 

But what should one say to a grieving friend?  I think this is such a hard question to answer.  Too often we want to say something, we feel we need to say something, but the truth of the matter is often times the only thing our friend really needs to hear is that we love them, we are praying for them and if there is anything we can do, don’t be afraid to ask.  We do not need to give them nice tidy answers.  We do not need to give them trite words.  We do not need to share our deep theological musings.  We do not need to make their grief about us by our words.  We do not need to use a lot of words.

 

We should give them a big hug.  We should give them a smile.  We should cry with them if they need someone to cry with, but not cry if they do not need to cry, we do not need to burden them with our grief.   We need to let them laugh if they need and want to laugh.  It is OK to have laughter as part of grief.  We should not make them feel guilty for grieving in a way that works for them.  We should not make them feel they need to grieve a certain way.  We need to extend extra grace to those who are grieving.   We need to love them as the Lord loves them.

 

And now in honor if my Mom and her life, I will share from personal experience what we went through after she died and I’ll share funny stories about her.  Don’t be offended, she would laugh right along with us.

After my Mom died, everyone kept telling us what a great person she was, how much she had influenced their life, how much she will truly be missed, blah blah blah.  (Have I shared this story before?)  Well to be honest, one would have thought she was a saint and never made a mistake.  To be honest it was so sweet, I was getting a stomach ache.  So the night after her visitation, my family sat around my parent’s kitchen table playing cards.  Conversation soon turned around to how embarrassed my Mom would have been to hear all those things said about her that night.  And well, what can I say, the conversation turned more to honesty about Mom’s faults and shortcomings.  It was such a fun time.  We were not being mean, just honest.  She had faults and less we think she was perfect and we forget those faults, we talked about them and we laughed.  I mean we laughed, we laughed so hard I had tears flowing from my eyes.  We shared fun memories that made us laugh so hard.

Did I ever tell you about the party that my parents had at our home, outside one summer.  My Mom was sitting under a shade tree talking smart and she got pooped on by a bird.  Yep, right on her shoulder, in the middle of her story.  I can still picture it in my mind, she was wearing a tank top and it splattered in her hair and on her shoulder.  I am laughing as I type this because it was just so very funny.

Or what about the time she was leading singing in church and started out in the wrong place in the song and being the good congregation that we were, we followed along, but not too loudly because we knew she was wrong and it was just uncomfy.  Oh and this was not just a one time occurrence.

Should I tell you about the time she did a headstand in my ballet class just to prove she could and just to embarrass me.

Did I tell you how she used to fall asleep and snore very very loudly, and not just at home.  I know some of her friends could tell you stories of her falling asleep at parties.  I am sure we children can take full responsibility for making her so tired.

 

I love my Mom and I miss her dearly.   Even more as my kidlets get older, I wish I could ask her questions and talk with her about them.  She was not perfect, but she was my Mom and I appreciate her for just who she was.  There are days I wish I could call her up and talk to her and ask her questions and advice.  But alas, that is not God’s plan so I will just trust in God’s plan and rest in the fact that He is in control.

susan

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