The one thing we are all certain of in this life is that suffering will come and yet when it happens we are never prepared. Emotionally we are just never ready to face significant loss. We will either completely fall apart or we will go into a state of denial. It's not just the loss of a loved one that will send us into grief, any life altering experience can bring a sense of loss that triggers grief. So the question is, what do we do or say to our grieving friend or loved one who has just experienced a loss in their life. Several weeks ago I listed 7 practical ways you could help your grieving friend. Here are some additional ways you can be a blessing to a hurting individual.
It certainly isn't easy to act natural when everything around you is in chaos. You may even fell uncomfortable when you first see your friend after they just suffered an incredible loss. Make sure to disguise your uncomfortableness in any way possible. The more you feel uncomfortable the more they will feel uncomfortable. Be there as the friend that your grieving friend has come to know and love. Don't try and be someone else.
Write a Note.
It's very likely that you won't be able to be with your friend in person right away. In these cases a simple sympathy note can be a huge blessing. Sympathy notes can go a long way to helping comfort your friend when you aren't there to give them a hug or be an ear for them to talk to. When writing the note remember to focus on the hope of the Gospel. Try and avoid cliches. Keep your thoughts biblical and point your friend to the hope he can find in God. While a short note can be a blessing it is better to really put some time into this note and make it be of some length.
Make a Phone Call.
Making every effort to reach out to your friend in his time of grief cannot be over stated. While notes are a blessing if you cannot be there in person, a phone call can be even more of a blessing. This phone conversation doesn't have to be long. I remember some of the greatest comfort I received during my trial was when my friends and people who I greatly respected took time out of their busy schedule to give call me and tell me they were praying for me. Before you hang up take time to pray for you friend over the phone.
Remember that the First Year Can be Difficult.
Holidays, birthday, anniversaries, etc. can be especially difficult that first year after a big loss. Visiting your friend, writing a note, or making a phone call are especially important during this first year. Let your friend know that he is not alone in his grief. Keep in constant contact during that first year.
Talk about Your Friend's Loss.
Often we think its best to just not talk about a great loss. Well-intentioned friends will often shy away from talking about the loss. They figure that talking about the loss just opens up old wounds. The implication we give by doing this is that the thing that happened is too terrible to talk about. If you're friend has lost a loved one he wants to here you talk about him.
Step in and Stop Your Friend if He's Making a Bad Decision.
The truth is that often hurting people hurt people. It's not uncommon for a hurting person to lash out in a wrong way. A godly friend does not allow this to happen. He steps in and stops his friend from making unbiblical choices in the midst of his grief
Tears are Okay.
Often when we are with our friend and the topic of the loss they just suffered comes up tears begin to flow. When we see our friend begin to tear up our immediate reaction tends to be to change the conversation and do all we can to keep our friend from crying. It's this fear of causing tears that keeps well intending friends from being a real comfort. Tears are a normal part of grief. Don't be afraid of them.
Posted by Caleb