The majority of this post was originally published on November 29, 2012, in regards to the loss we experienced with our first adoption placement. However, in light of the recent loss in our community- with the passing of a vibrant sixteen year old, Sean- I thought it might be helpful to publish it again.
We have been so blessed to witness the outpouring of Christ’s love upon this dear family and pray that it continues.
“Blessed be Your Name, on the road marked with suffering, though there’s pain in the offering, blessed be Your Name.”
My new(er) philosophy on helping others in their grief is this:
(obviously pray about what to do, God will probably lead you in
different ways for different situations- these are just a few ideas).
1. Pray pray pray. We could tell many were praying for us during
this hard time. There is no way we could have made it through the news,
the drive home, and the days that followed without the Lord and all
those praying for us.
2. Don’t hesitate calling
(if they don’t want to talk they won’t pick up- don’t take this
personally). I so appreciated a dear friend saying, “You know I am not
good with words, but I am aching with you and praying for you.” This
went a lot way…she acknowledged not knowing what to say… but saying
anything mattered. She expressed her love in the way that she could;
the important thing is that she took the risk to express it, so we could
know how she felt.
3. Remember the loss now and at a later date. Most people have lots of people expressing support immediately after a
loss, but some people experience and process grief a long time after
the event has happened, and may need the support in a few weeks or
months after the incident, and especially on anniversaries/holidays, etc.
4. Offer to make a meal. It was such a blessing to not have to grocery shopping or figure out
meals the first few days after we got home from the hospital). Gift
cards are great ideas too, because you can mail them and provide space
if that is what that person needs.
5. Think of a way to honor the loss
(card, gift, or donation in their honor). This can be as simple as planting a tree is someone’s honor, to contributing to a cause on their behalf- or as grand as naming a child after the person. Consider honoring the loss in a way that will keep on giving and blessing others. *The young man who passed away was able to donate seven of his organs to those waiting for transplants. About a week prior to his death he told his friends that he wanted to be an organ donor. Wouldn’t it be incredible if those who feel comfortable being donors, added their name to the registry in honor of Sean?
6. Offer a listening ear and allow the person to talk about their loss if they want to talk about it. I think I read this in Angie Smith’s book, I Will Carry You, she
said that it meant a lot when someone came up to her and said something
like this, “I would love to hear about Audrey’s life (her baby daughter
that had died) and whatever you would like to tell me about her”. This
validated her daughter’s life and gave her room to share if she wanted
7. Don’t rush their grief. We all grieve
in different ways and in different capacities. Try not to get impatient
that they should hurry up and move on. They will never be the same.
Sure they will heal and move on, but they won’t forget and they will
have a new normal. They are changed through this experience.
We have good friends who offered several times for us to come over. We
declined, which I hope didn’t hurt their feelings; we just weren’t
ready yet…but their asking meant so much, they offered opportunities
for us to have fellowship and that mattered a lot. I went back and
forth from just wanting to be together as a family to wanting people to
come over and just be with us in our grief.
are doing well…but that doesn’t mean we don’t need room to grieve
this loss. We are looking forward in hope and trust in the Lord. We
may never understand why we had to go through this, but we have seen a
lot of fruit from this loss. We know God can take this and make
something beautiful from it…but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt and
catch up with us at unexpected times.
will leave you with one of my favorite songs. May the words wash over
you as you spend time in His presence. He, the greatest comforter of all. He who knew greatest pain. He able to comfort all who mourn, with genuine understanding.