This was a rough week. I lost a loved one. Death is always hard and painful. We have all been there. I wanted to crawl up in a chair and sleep, and I probably would have if my friends hadn’t been there for me. I’m so grateful for they’re support. I know it was nothing they could do or say to help ease the pain, but knowing they were there, and the care they showed; meant the world to me.
Throughout this week I received calls, and emails, and online posts from old friends and acquaintances. All of the correspondence had one line in common. “If you need anything please let me know.” I heard this phrase or read it at least a hundred times. We all have said it. It’s the customary verbiage when someone dies. It’s usually spoken with love and genuine concern, but after a while it started to sound robotic. I started to wonder what would happen, if I said, “Yes, can you help me with this…?” I mean does anyone ever respond with a request for help when asked this question. It wasn’t that I didn’t need the assistance, but I was still dealing with the loss. In hind sight I wish would have had the mind to say, “Can you give me a little space and check back in a few weeks maybe.”
I don’t mean to sound harsh, but when you’re in the mix of grief and sorrow you don’t have any idea what you need. I couldn’t verbalize wants and needs it was way soon. So, I have learned from this experience: give the grieving person time to figure out what they’re new normal will look like, then offer assistance.
A friend of mine suggested, “Instead of saying I don’t need anything, or no I’m fine. Why not offer suggestions to friends that want to help, give them a way to feel like they’re taking a part of your grief.”
People want to feel needed. Offer suggestions:
- Can you pray with me?
- Provide a listening ear. It is so comforting to talk about the good times you had with the deceased.
- Please check back with me in a few weeks.
- Send money, don’t ask, just put the money in a card, Cash App, or slip it in a hand. The money will be much appreciated. There are a million things that come up during this time.
I’m not in any hurry to use any of her suggestions, but it comforting to know that she was listening and she cared.