Be There

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Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep..For none of us lives to himself…

Romans 12:15,14:7

As death is apart of the life cycle, it is bound to happen.  This is the one fate we all have in common.  I’m sure many of you have been in the seat of mourner.  During my period of mourning I have had some great support.  Death leaves a bitter taste in everyone’s mouth.  Sometimes you don’t know what you can do to help the person through their period of sadness and loss.  Here are a few things that I think are helpful to consider when helping those you are close to are grieving:

  • Silence is for Lambs: Always acknowledge the loss of the mourner’s loved one.  This can be done without words in the form of a simple hug, a greeting card, or a heartfelt smile.  Pretending like nothing has occurred is rather callous.  My own brother (Jazmine’s father) did not bother to attend the service or even acknowledge his death.
  • Practical Makes Perfect:  It was so helpful (and much appreciated) when friends, relatives, and coworkers provided me with meals!  Cooking is the last thing on your mind.  And of course, this is really a time that you need to nourish your body with good food.  Nicholas, Jazmine, and I were often invited to breakfast and dinner by family and several coworkers bought my lunch everyday or prepared it themselves.  If it wasn’t for these people, we would have starved! My cousin also volunteered tireless hours driving me around.  She made the roundtrip so that I could talk to Evan about his dad, too.  Another practical form of help is to assist in addressing thank you cards.  This is something that I didn’t feel like doing but my good manners would not allow me not to.  I even had several babysitting offers when I needed to take care of business.
  • 21 Questions is a Game Not to Play:  I say this because I have been asked some rather insensitive questions, such as was my husband overweight (no, he was not), did I cook healthy meals, (mostly) or was he ill (no again).  Allow the mourner the opportunity to grieve first.  They may or may not feel like divulging details of the death, and if  they don’t, then that’s okay, too.
  • Lipservice is Not Service: “If you need anything, let me know” is a common one.  Now I know people mean well and  hate to see a person that they love or care about hurting.  But only offer services that you are  truly capable of or are willing to lovingly provide.  One day, someone just might take you up on your generous offer which could create an ackward situation for both parties.  Also don’t offer simplistic platitudes such as “God needed him more.”  Even if it is true, that’s not what a grieving spirit wants to hear.
  • Rose-Colored Glasses Don’t Look Good On You:  One of my coworkers who is a wonderful man, is determined that I will not be sad.  He does everything to try and make me laugh.  However, it’s annoying.  I’m sad–sadder than sad and will be for quite some time.  But I have every right to be.  I don’t feel like laughing even when others think I should.  It is totally alright for people to experience a wide range of emotions while mourning.  Please give them this gift without the pressure of feeling that they need to “get over” their loss and be happy again.  I will be okay again one day in my own timing.
  • Disappearing Acts Are For Magicians: This is one of the most lonely and vulnerable times of grieving.  I imagine one could really lose their minds without proper support in place.  So don’t “go missing” after the service!  Grief is not something that ends with the funeral.
  • Use Your Ears for More Than Hanging Earrings:  I am so thankful to my friend Stacy, whom I met through blogging.  She listened to me cry and babble one night for over three hours!  I am grateful that she cared enough about a perfect stranger to sacrifice her time to make me feel better.  My friend Angela was wonderful as well.  I can’t stress how important it is to be a listening ear. 
  • Jumping to Conclusions is Not an Olympic  Sport: Don’t assume that a person grieving is “okay”  because they may appear to be fine. I am a perfect example of this because I hide my emotions very well.   Tears of a Clown is my theme song at the moment!  Check often on the person via email, text,  personal visits, cards, voicemail, or telephone calls to let the person know you are concerned about their wellbeing.  Also, don’t forget to include the mourner in on activities that you normally would.  It is eay to make the false assumption that “they won’t feel up doing anything.”  This is hurtful and not always the case.
  • Uh Huh…Okay…Shut-up: I have had several people tell me that I am “young and will marry again” or “you’ll be fine after a few years.”  Sometimes the best words to say are none at all.  Our society is so used to idle chatter that people are under the false impression that they have to say something when they don’t.
  • Be Clueless:  Feel free not to have a ready explanation as to why their loved one died.  We don’t know the answers to God’s many mysteries of life.  Just be there, your presence is enough.
  • Don’t Tiptoe Through the Tulips:  It is okay to talk about the deceased.  I’ve had a few of my coworkers look in horror when my students discuss the many times they saw my husband and I out.  He was alive once and it doesn’t bother me when people remember him.  Our family talks about him all the time.
  • Lace Up Your Nikes:  Don’t ask IF the grieving person needs something because you know they do!  Even if it is something as simple as a hug.  If you notice they haven’t been eating, buy them lunch.  Invite them to your home, baby-sit for a few hours, offer to run errands for them.  Most people are too shy/proud to admit that they really need someone to lean on.  Most mourners won’t interpret this as being intrusive.  I view it as people wanting to do something to help ease my pain.  The point is don’t wait for a vulnerable person to make a request because that may never happen–just do it! 
  • Orisons Are Awesome: This is the most beautiful and lasting form of support.  I know many of you have sent up prayers for me and I am in awe.  When I feel so low, which I often do, I can only wonder how much worse off I would be without the prayers of family, friends, fellow bloggers, perfect strangers, and coworkers to help keep me afloat.  I am so very grateful for all of the comments and warm thoughts left on my postings!  Thanks to all who have been  grieving with me.
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15 responses »

  1. You know hun, I just don’t know what to say to you. I’m sorry sounds so inadequate. But I honestly feel that way. I feel so “sorry.”

    Just please know I’m thinking the very best possible thoughts and sending them your way with lot of *hugs*

    It was GREAT to see what you look like. You are GORGEOUS. I know that’s off topic but I wanted to add that.

  2. Joy~

    Oh, no, I didn’t mean to imply that there is something wrong with telling people in mourning that you are sorry. I feel the same sentiment for others as well.

    Also these tips are geared more for people in your inner circle.

    Thank you for the compliment!

  3. How nice to see pictures of your lovely family, and of you!

    Your meaningful advice is so very true. Having lost both my parents and all of my grandparents…..I came to the conclusion that most people dont realize how insensitive they are being, they are really just innocently ignorant. Most have never lost someone dear to them.

    Many many years ago one of my dear friends lost her husband to a heart attack. He was 28 and they had a two year old. She too heard many times(Within the first few days following his death) how she was young and would remarry, and also how she would find another man to raise her daughter. It was painful and only added to her grief. Comments such as these are better off left unsaid, true. But why would someone even think them in the first place?

    I’m so glad that you have a lot of support and I think its wonderful that you have this forum to share your grief and release some of your emotions. I think it is a healthy thing to do. Keep taking care of you!

  4. Morocco, you are as absolutely beautiful on the outside as your heart, spirit and soul. I am so honored and blessed to be called your friend. You have touched my life in so many amazing ways.

    I think this was a fantastic post. I believe that the best person to give suggestions and advice is someone that has lived the experience. I’m fortunate to have had the experience of working in a funeral home in my early 20’s. I learned so much about life through death. In our society we don’t talk much about death, but it’s so much a part of our life.

    Thank you for sharing so much with us, Morocco. Peaceful blessings, Stacy

  5. This is very well written. You have a gift of amazing insight, but the incredible sadness that comes with it is overwhelming. Still keeping you in my prayers.

    I’m so happy to be able to put a face to your name. Thank you for posting yourself on your blog (pics and heart.) You are incredibly beautiful in body and in spirit.

  6. Kelly~

    I agree wholeheartedly, some people don’t know how to offer themselves for comfort, especially when they haven’t dealt with much loss themselves. Sometimes I do think we are not conscious of behavior.

    JAG~

    My heart is on fire with sadness! But I am learning to find the balance. I have to accept the blessings along with the trials because God is always good despite the circumstances.

  7. I love this post, very soulfully expressed.

    Many people are very uncomfortable with death, therefore come the insensitive comments or actions (brother not attending). They simply cannot deal with uncomfortable circumstances, and are not able to face it.

    You won’t ever find another (your husband) again. We are all one of a kind. That is at it should be, because we all individually are our own person. There is not another out there the same. So grieve all you want, it is healthy and warranted. You will meet many people in your future, probably will meet another partner down the road. That person will never replace your husband, he will be a new chapter in your life experience.

    If you lose a child, any children after, will not replace that child. They never will. That is the way it should be, your situation with your husband is no different. He will never be replaced.

    You cherish and have your memories of your husband and always will. You never have to lose those, they are a part of you. You also cherish memories of Ethan, Evan. I would think, you would feel the same sense of death (loss) with them, as you do not have access to them. So in essence your are mourning 3 losses of death here. Painful, you betcha!!

    I think it is healthy to acknowledge how you feel, you are allowed to feel, whatever emotions you are feeling at the moment. There is no right emotions and wrong emotions. We have them, so we can release that particular feeling at that time.

    I love your pic’s. They are beautiful. The one with your husband and the boys, I would get blown up and framed. What a precious picture. You don’t even look your age, very pretty.

    Take it one day at a time, and each day will bring to you, opportunities that you may or may not choose to undertake. Listen to your gut, it will tell you what you need to do. Sometimes that gut will tell you to do something you don’t want to. We can all get into states of inertia, again a time and place for that. You know it is what you should do. So listen to it, it never lies.

    I hope I do not sound to opinionated and forward here. You need to honor and acknowledge you. That is all I am trying to say here.

    Love, Peace & Blessings to you as always.

  8. Been There~

    I love to read your comments and welcome your thoughts and advice! In fact I want to thank you for taking the time out to help me through this. I also like your suggestion about the picture as it is one of my favorites! It was such a serene, fun time for us! It makes me happy just looking at all of my boys–including my husband!

    I’m sure some readers may wonder when I am going to post about other or more happier things, but right now this is where I am at. Through writing, praying, studying the Bible, being still, and talking to others, I am working my way through it.

    My husband was so sweet and precious to me that I would never dishonor the time we had together by trying to find a replacement–something not possible to do anyway! I will always cherish his memory and love his soul until I take my last breath.

    With that being said I would like to thank you all for continuing to stop by Full Moon to give your support! Really, words can’t express just how much it means! Thank, you, thank you, thank you!

  9. What wonderful words of advice, thank you for sharing. The pictures of your family are beautiful. I’m hear to read no matter what you write, even if I don’t comment often. I think it’s good you share with where you’re at. It keeps you honest with yourself which is so important.

  10. This post deserves to be published. Seriously, if you were to expand upon each thought that you have included, I believe you would have the perfect book that could be shared with those who are mourning AND those who are striving to support someone who is grieving.

    I’ve been slowly trying to get caught up on my blog reading. Visiting here today has been a blessing.

  11. What wonderful advice, Morocco! I lost my father 8 years ago and although it has gotten easier, it still hurts, from time to time. It was something that I had to process on my own in order to get through it. And you’re right, it was really annoying when everyone expected me to just be happy because they wanted me to. Sometimes, all that needs to be said is, “I’m sorry for your loss, and I’m here if you need me.”

    Additionally, I can relate to what you said about people being afraid to talk about your loss. It actually helped me to remember the happy times with my father. Not doing so made me feel like people expected me to act as if he never existed.

    Lastly, your family is just beautiful!! I’m continually praying that God will get you through this. It seems unexplainable that one would lose their husband so early in life. But, I’m a firm believer that our heavenly Father is the explanation for things that cannot be explained. We may not fully understand His plan,but He knows what he’s doing. Looking to Him as the source of your strength and strength of your life will prayerfully provide you with some solace during this very difficult time.

    Grace and Peace,

    ~Kela

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