When God provides you with a platform, it is always best to use that voice to make a difference. I want you to hear the heart in this message and not the voice. The topic of grief is a hard conversation to have with anyone, but I will have it now.
The loss of a loved one is an extremely traumatic time for all. Some losses are expected and others not so much. Either way it is a complicated and confusing time in a person's life. The love and support at the beginning is instantaneous. There is a flood of texts, phone calls, cards, flowers and social media outpouring. For the most part the grieving individual is still in so much shock and disbelief that they can't wrap their head around it all.
The truth of the matter is quick as a week or two after the burial, is when the support begins to slow down to a crawl. It is also just about this time that the truth of what has happened begins to sink in like a bad dream. The heaviness of this experience carries the weight of a mack truck.
It is at this time that you feel the loneliness. You are at your weakest with little or no support. The phone stops ringing and the silence is almost deafening.
This is also when the "secondary losses" begin to take place. You lose communication with friends, acquaintances and family members almost instantaneously. It happens just that quick. So along with the grieving process of your loved one, you are now grieving the loss of family and friends. Quite a burden to carry, huh?
Most people walk away because their lives must continue as it should and since grieving has no time limit, it is almost longer than folks are willing to stick around. The dynamics of what they use to know about you, is no longer the same and so it is easier to walk away then to adapt to the new normal of their friend or loved one.
The biggest misconception is that they look at you as a pillar of strength. That is a misconception indeed. What they see is an individual who counts on God to get them through every hour of the day. They see an individual who has to get up to go to work, has to go shopping in order to eat, has to wash their hair and take a shower to maintain cleanliness. This doesn't make them strong, it makes them a survivor. They are functioning at times on very little energy, very little to eat and some times very little sleep.
If you love someone who is grieving, trust me when I tell you they will need you way past the burial. They will need you through the firsts of everything in that first year. Being a listening ear or someone who can provide a shoulder to cry on. They don't need 24 hours of your day. They need an encouraging phone call or a visit to the home. They need a cup of tea or coffee with someone who will allow them to cry and or talk. They need someone to cook them a meal. Most grieving people forget to eat and or drink liquids. They need someone who will just sit and let them know, "I am here." They need help around the house.
Most grieving people do not know what they need or want. They are living in a clouded world and are not clear on anything that might be needed. This place is both unfamiliar and scary.
Many people will walk away and stay away, because the work is too hard, this is a guarantee. However, God is also loving and kind and sends new people to fill in the void. A grieving person does not have the time to focus on those who have walked away. They must focus on their own self-care and move forward. They are living in enough pain.
This message is from the heart and I can promise you that this grief walk requires love, support and most importantly God. I pray that this will enlighten you to understand a little about this topic, that makes most people very uncomfortable. It is a conversation that must take place, so that your sensitivity is heightened. It is also a reminder that the Word of God talks about how we have to take care of others.
Philippians 2:4 ESV
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Timothy 5:8 ESV
But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever
Galatians 6:2 ESV
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Take the time to make yourself a little more vulnerable and open to support those who are grieving a loss. I promise it will not cost you a thing, if anything you will walk away with a bonus.
What I know for sure is that God does the rewarding.
Listen to the heart and not the voice.
Meditate on that!