You. They need you.
During and right after a crisis, we step up. We bring meals. We listen to them talk. We clean their house and watch their kids. We are there for them.
Until we leave.
At a certain point, they are left to move on with their life. We move on with ours. We don’t come by as often or at all. We don’t call. They are supposed to continue as if life didn’t just throw them the biggest curve ball they have ever faced.
Maybe I am wrong here, but this is how I have felt since my Mom died 14 years ago. Everyone rallied around my family while she was sick and then when hospice came, there was more help. It was wonderful to not have to feel like I had to hold myself up. After we lost her, people stuck around. Until they didn’t. And I understand why. I know I have done it to others. People have lives of their own.
The grieving process takes a long time. There are ups and downs that are exhausting to the strongest of us. I know with losing Mom, some days were normal and some days were spent crying on the floor. I didn’t expect friends to do more than they had, and yet I felt alone in my sadness.
My thought is that we should be checking on our grieving family and friends for at least a year. I don’t mean smother them with attention. We shouldn’t constantly ask if they are OK. What I mean is that we should send a text to let them know we are thinking of them. Call them just to chat. Maybe even send a card in the mail to brighten their day. At least once a month, we should let them know we are here for them if they need anything or want to talk.
It’s not that we are letting our friends down, but I think we should focus on lifting them up more. Even if we don’t understand what they are going through, we can be there. We can let them know we will always be there. We want to help our friends and don’t always know how. I didn’t really need help physically, but emotionally I was on overdrive.
God always knows what I need and sent me a new friend who reminded me of Mom. She helped me process things I couldn’t talk about with family I knew well. So, maybe this means being a listening friend to someone we haven’t known long. If we have been put in their life, there is a reason for it.
When someone around us suffers a huge loss, we shouldn’t shrink away. Just because we don’t know what exactly they are going through doesn’t mean we can’t help them. We have all had some form of pain and loss in our lives and remember how it felt. Letting them feel their grief may be what they need.
Grief happens to all of us. Let’s help each other through it, long after we have gone back to our normal lives. If you think you don’t know what to say, you are probably right. Just be there and listen. You are showing love just with your presence.
Linking with Holley Gerth