"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep." - Romans 12:15
I have been working through the "Mourning and Dancing" bible study from shereadstruth.com (if you haven't heard of these incredibly beautiful, super hip, easy to comprehend bible studies or joined the community group on their app - hop to it because whoa!) and Nancy Guthrie's tips mid-study from her book "What Grieving People Wish You Knew About What Really Helps (and What Really Hurts)" was so spot on and encouraging to read, I wanted to share in hopes of helping other people who feel lost and alone in their grief or how to help a loved one who is grieving.
How to Help:
Don't disappear. Don't avoid.
Listen more than you talk.
Resist interrupting, correcting, fixing, advice-giving, and judging.
Your tears don't add to their sorrow; they demonstrate they are not alone.
Be a safe person to laugh with by not assuming that their laughter means they are done with their sorrow.
Leave a message.
A grieving person may not want to answer the phone. Leave caring words for them to listen to again and again. *or send videos!*
Send a note.
And then another.
Mark your calendar.
Make a note on your calendar to reach out on days that might be hard, such as birthdays, deathdays, and holidays.
Supply practical needs.
Provide food in disposable containers, meal delivery from a favorite restaurant, paper products so they don't have to do dishes, babysitting or a manicure for a day out of the house.
Invite but don't push.
Grieving people often feel like they don't fit in anymore. They need gentle encouragement to return to life with friends.
Consider the kids.
Mostly, kids just want things to be normal. Helping maintain the old routine can be a great way to serve the family.
Just as time is necessary in the healing of a physical injury, we cannot hurry the process of emotional healing.
Ease the financial burden.
Financial strain on top of heartache can be especially difficult. Consider some costs you may be able to help cover.
Offer to help with the hard stuff.
Ask what hard thing they need to do but can't - picking out clothes for burial, cleaning out a closet, writing thank you notes- and offer to do it for them or with them.
Commit to being there over the long haul.
Grieving people need friends who aren't going anywhere.
Point them to Christ.
Pray with them and for them, and leave room for them to lean into the Comforter.
Six ways to say "How are you?" to a grieving person:
1- "What is your grief like these days?"
This question assumes that it makes sense that the person is sad and gives them the opportunity to talk about it.
2- "I can't imagine how hard it must be to face these days without (name of the person who died). Are there particular times of day you're finding especially hard?"
Keep saying the name of the person who died. It is music to the grieving person's ears.
3- "I find myself really missing (name of the person who died) lately."
It is a great comfort for those who are grieving to know they are not the only ones missing their loved one.
4- "I often think of you when I'm (gardening/driving by your house/going for a walk/getting up in the morning/etc.) and whisper a prayer for you to experience God's comfort. Are there particular things I could be praying for you?
5- "I know that (name of the person who died)'s birthday/deathday is coming up and it must be so very hard to anticipate that day. How can I honor their memory with you?
6- "I know (a holiday, birthday, anniversary) is coming up and it is difficult to imagine that day without him/her there. Is there anything I could do to help you get through tht day?"
Thank you for reading and supporting me.