On a run last weekend, while questioning why I put lungs through the same old torture over and over, I had two light bulb moments, probably brought on a delirious, oxygen deprived brain grasping wildly for something to think about other than the unfortunate state of my chaffing thighs. Sorry, just bein’ real, ya’ll. First, I realized that I don’t engage my readers as much as I’d like to. I know you all come from different experiences, backgrounds, and ages, which means you all have unique perspectives. I want to take advantage of that, which is where light bulb numero dos comes into play.
Here’s how this will work. If it seems helpful and people are interested in discussing, by means of the comment section below, every Friday, I want to pose a question for all my readers, and friends of my readers, and friends of friends of my readers. It will usually be a question that doesn’t have a right or wrong answer, one that’s up for debate.
This week’s question:
“How should we (as friends, relatives, parents, co-workers, teachers, etc) reach out to someone who is grieving? Or should we even reach out?”
Grief is a messy, heavy topic. I’m sure you all can come up with a plethora of causes for grief – disease, loss, broken relationships, mental illness, trauma, infertility, and divorce to name a few. I grieve in a different way than you do, and you grieve differently than your neighbor, or your mom, or your stepsister. You get the point. We’re all touched by it in different ways, but no matter the differences, we can all agree on one thing, it’s painful. We don’t have to hurt alone though. We shouldn’t hurt alone. My question for you then, is how can we lovingly support people who are grieving.I thought about it for a little while, working through some scenarios, and I realized that sometimes my best intentions for loving a grieving a friend come across as insensitive. Going up to a friend in a public place, and asking how they’re doing, might not always be the best way to show I care. They might be having a normal day, and my comment opens up a wound. Maybe a personal card or email, which they can open in the safety of their own home, is a better option. What if you see someone grieving, and you want to let you know you’re thinking about them, but you don’t know them very well. How can you support them without being too intrusive. But those are just a few of my own thoughts. I want to hear from you.
How should we reach out to someone who’s grieving?
Depending on the situation, what are some phrases that should never be said? I know for me, phrases like, “I understand how you feel,” when I know the person has never experienced what I’m going through, are frustrating.
What are some words of encouragement that should be voiced? Is there something that really comforted you when you were grieving? “I love you” and “I’m here for you” are two I think aren’t pretentious or insensitive.
How can we be consistently supportive without being stifling?
If you’ve never commented before, don’t be shy. I LOVE reading your comments. I want to hear from you. Also, if you have discussion questions you would like me to post, share them with me via email or in the comments section.