“Kindness begins with the understanding that we all struggle.” – Charles Glassman.
Help is supposed to be a good thing…Right? Sometimes, though, it doesn’t feel so good. Sometimes we try to help others by trying to present a solution to their problem without knowing that we may be making their problem worse. Additionally, sometimes we unknowingly force our own personal beliefs and values onto others, or we might not notice that we are being passive-aggressive in the way that we are attempting to offer help.
When this happens after loss it can sometimes leave both sides wondering, “What just happened?” Sometimes it occurs right after a loved one has passed, and sometimes it happens long after the funeral has ended and the person grieving is still trying to adjust to the effects of their loss, but when it happens it is always something that the person grieving almost usually never forgets.
I understand. I understand completely. When someone dies it is hard to find the right words to say. We’re always concerned about whether we are saying the right thing to the person who had to say goodbye to someone that they knew. Someone that they cared for and in many cases loved.
We all know of some of the standard ways to address those who are grieving. Ways that we have become accustomed to. I know because I have used some of those words myself, but that was before I could even begin fathom what it was like to lose someone whose absence meant that my entire life would change and never be the same. It was long before I knew what it was like to lose a child. Long before I experienced losing someone who wasn’t supposed to leave this earth before me, (or anyone else in my immediate family for that matter.)
To anyone wanting to offer condolences to the grieved, please understand that person’s loss may not be the first loss that they have had to endure. They may have lost many people in their lifetime, and as a result, they may not feel that this particular loss was a part of God’s plan, or that “it was for the best.”
Maybe it was a part of God’s plan and maybe they are in a better place, but the chances that someone who just lost someone is going to agree that what happened was for the best is very slim. This is especially true for parents who have lost a child. Losing a child is considered to be one of the hardest forms of grief to overcome. It’s exhausting.
So, a little word of advice from a grieving mom. The next time that you a presented with the chance to extend your condolences to someone, remember that person has just gone through what might be the most horrible time in their life and your thoughtfulness and could make a world of difference.
One of the best condolences that I received was “I am sorry for your loss. Please let me know if there is anything that I can do to help.” This let me know that the person felt bad about what happened, but it also let me know that they understood that I was going through a tough time and that they would be there for me if I needed anything.
If you are unsure of what to way, simply say exactly that, say that you’re unsure of what to say. Say that you are sorry and that you don’t know what to say because that will be better than saying nothing at all; and if you want to be a bit more expressive just try not to say anything that may be offensive. Sometimes its best to keep it simple and straight to the point, but being considerate of someone’s loss and their needs usually never fails.
Until the next post,
Take care + be well,