How do you communicate with someone who is grieving?
As important as it is to grieve when you lose someone it is just as important on how you deal with that person. There are many, many books and talks about the subject of how to overcome grief but few books and articles teach us how to deal with the loved one who is suffering.
“There is a greater plan for you” Over the past couple of years I have been told over and over and over again that “there is a greater plan” for me, honestly? Oh, how I have come to hate those words. That is how I felt each and every time the words came out of someone’s mouth. I would give anything to have my husband back, my sister-in-laws, my mother if it means I am a lesser person or my “plan” wasn’t greater. It was great! I was happy. Seriously do you honestly believe that, considering I have had 5 very close family members die in less than 5 years? I honestly think that there are other great things that will come to me, however it doesn’t help to hear that when I am at my deepest point. Absolutely when the grieving has lessened as we too need hope for a better tomorrow. I know you have my best interest at heart, but there is a time and place for everything.
One thing I know – it is probably the hi-lite of my week, my day, my life, as I am grieving, and the phone rings and the person on the other end is only interested in listening – nothing more, no other agenda, no “it will be better tomorrow” or “what have you been up to”. The most precious gift you can give that person is your time. I remember the weekend after my husband’s service (remember we just spent the last 5 years going back and forth between hospitals and doctors and being with a loved one who was dieing) –and not a single phone call. And when I asked many family members why they didn’t call – they thought I wanted to be alone. Again, seriously? I will spend hours, days, weeks, months, and even years alone. When losing loved one after loved one, running here and there – it is the loneliest feeling you could ever experience. Don’t leave us entirely alone. Of course you don’t have to be here twenty four seven, as we need our time, but check in, just call and say “hello” nothing more. “I was thinking of you”.
Have you ever had anyone diagnosed with a terminal illness or life threatening disease – and people tell you after “I didn’t call because I didn’t know what to say”. Or the person calls and asks how you are doing – do you really want to know? If you don’t, which I understand – don’t ask! It’s that simple. If you are not prepared for the person you are reaching out to to breakdown or tell you their heart is breaking, then just call and let them know you are there. You are thinking of them and mean it, don’t just say it.
And trust me we are all different – and the grieving process is different. Some people say “I just want to be left alone” others say “I like to keep busy” and others just want to “hear from you”. More important than anything else – listen! That is an priceless gift!