We need to be heard. We need to be seen. We want to be loved. Grief is hard enough already.
From the Grieving Heart:
Yesterday a good friend said, "Well, at least you knew him as long as you did. You were blessed."
Yes, I'm blessed to have known you. But I wanted you longer. Much longer.
It reminds me of another statement last week, when a co-worker hugged me and stated, "At least he is in a better place now."
I agree, but I want you here, now.
Anything beginning with "At least…" is void of any comfort to me at all.
I'm ashamed to remember that I've used my share of "At least..." statements in the past. "At least they're not suffering anymore." "At least you had a wonderful relationship." "At least you have a good, supportive family."
I didn't know what to say. I guess I thought I had to say something. I know better now.
A little silence, listening ears, and a hug can do wonders.
There are no words...
When someone experiences a loss, no one knows what to say. There are no words for such things. All verbal attempts to fix, encourage, or somehow make things better fall to the ground with little or no fruit.
We've all been recipients of some at-least statements. Though some of these might be true, few are comforting. Grieving hearts need to be seen, heard, and understood, and these statements come across more as platitudes. We spout them off without thinking how the grieving heart in front of us might hear it.
Yes, these statements will come. People don't know what to say, so they tend to say what they've heard in similar situations. Of course, we would be better served if those around us spent less time talking and more time listening to our hearts and souls. Though it sounds simple, this requires time, patience, and a willingness to be in the presence of emotional suffering. In our world, convenience is king, and there is nothing convenient about loss and grief.
We all need to be seen and heard. People who are acquainted with grief and with whom we feel safe are our best bet. And if we've said things we now regret to other grieving hearts in the past, it's time to forgive ourselves. We're now in a different place. Now we know this pain, and we're much better equipped to engage with and comfort other grieving hearts.
A little silence, listening ears, and a hug can indeed do wonders. Our hearts heal moment by moment and piece by piece when we give away what we need.
Affirmation: Since I now know grief, I can engage with other grieving hearts. This could be good for both of us.
Adapted from the USA Best Book Award Winner, Comfort for Grieving Hearts: Hope and Encouragment for Times of Loss.