With my Grandfather passing away last week, I have faced a range of emotions: from surprised, empty, upset and pissed- to calm, peaceful, and a bit harmonious. Mainly I've been reflective (as many are during these times). Dealing with death is such a difficult and necessary aspect of life. One that no one enjoys, where time to recover from can vastly range, and that is deeply personal too deal with. Despite all of the pain and unrest that death brings - I have always found solace in the deep connection to humanity that it also brings.
Every time that I have had to deal with a loved one passing, I have also reveled in the fierce level of love and support that others share during these times. Letters, phone calls, messages, and emails from friends and family provide a reminder of just how many others are there for you during hard times. While at funerals I am always completely overwhelmed by the number of people who provide hugs, share tales of their memories, and contribute to reasons to smile on those toughest of days. I often spend these grief ridden days gazing at the beautiful sunshine and feel overcome by how lucky I am to have known someone that I loved so deeply and overwhelmed with gratitude for having so many others in life that fill my days with reasons to smile. (but, then again, I am an optimist...) I often walk away from these deeply sad losses, feeling grateful for all those that I have and feeling lucky to have known those no longer with me.
I am in no way trying to downplay the depression or pain that loss can cause. It can be numbing and last years.
There is never a "right" thing to say to a person in mourning.
There is never a set amount of time for a person to be done mourning.
My point is that, despite the ambiguity of "RIGHT" in these situations there are LOTS of ways to show you care, to provide support and to provide the much needed human connection to those dealing with loss.
- Reach out! A call, note, message, email, text, facebook call out, tweet, silly emoji, snap, or card might arrive at a moment where they are down and need it most.
- Send something thoughtful. For many this is flowers...but think about the person. Would a book, movie, chocolate, card, bouquet of fruit be more up their alley? Personalize a gift to show you are thinking of them!
- Spend some time with them. While dealing with loss, it is a great reminder of the importance of spending time with those you care about. Invite them out or go visit them. Workout together or binge eat together. Remind them that you love them and want to be spending time together.
- Think about how you felt when you dealt with loss...what made a difference to you? Pass those loving acts on to those that are dealing with similar situations.
- Provide an ear. Nothing can be said that will ease or speed up grief. But letting a friend know that you are there, as a shoulder to cry on and ear to talk to - is often needed more than anything else.
You can be the 'chicken noodle soup for the soul' that they need.
Loss can be a hard and painful process. But it can also be an opportunity to share your love, support, friendship, and kindness to someone that you are happy to have in your life.
In mourning, I have found that love unifies us all.
Believer that everyone is special.