Disclaimer: This is based on my experience. Every griever is different and will appreciate different things but I tried to be as general as possible while still getting in everything I appreciated during the worst of my grief.
There are a lot of articles and blog posts out there about what to do and what not to do as a friend or family member of a griever. And for good reason! Many people don’t know how to respond and the wrong response can make a griever feel worse because it is so hard for us to see outside of our tremendous pain in the beginning.
Having said that, there are not enough articles out there thanking these friends and family for not only reading these articles to see how they can be better friends to grievers but for also wanting to be better friends. It’s not easy being a friend to a griever. I wanted to say thank you. Thank you to all of you who want to help somebody in so much pain.
Some people disappear or just kind of go into the background and we don’t judge them, we understand. It’s not easy and some people aren’t equipped, not all of us would be either. But you stayed. You stayed and did what you could. Every word out of your mouth may not have been perfect but you know what? You’re human. That is only natural. You showed effort and caring and love. That’s what matters.
Without my friends and family, I definitely wouldn’t be as far as I am right now in my grief. A support system is so important and if you find people who want to be a part of it, please try to hold onto that even if it feels weird or not wanted. You will eventually need them and value them. I know that feeling of just wanting to be alone but having some friends or family gently push me to join the world while understanding that I wouldn’t always want to, well it made me eventually start joining the world. Thank you, friends. Thank you, family. Thank you.
The Things You Do
You do things like bring us food and run errands for us. You try to get us out and sometimes you actually succeed! You help run crowd control at funeral events and you check on us to make sure we’re okay. You give us cards that are so full of compassion. Sometimes we may not seem like we appreciate it and sometimes we might even seem annoyed but we are one big raw nerve right now. It’s hard for us to process things. We do remember the things you do and we cherish them even if it doesn’t always seem like it.
You help with things like taking care of our animals or children and help us clean. You let us know that you have our backs if we are feeling on shaky ground. You listen to our pain, you cry with us and you encourage us to let it out. You understand that our world is only our pain right now. That is so valuable.
Our Shared Grief
Some of you are grieving too and you put your grieving aside to let us fall apart or you grieve with us and we love that. It’s not that we like seeing somebody else cry but we like seeing somebody else miss our person. It helps so much to share that horrible yearning of wanting our person back. It also helps to not think we are the only one grieving. We cherish sharing that with you.
Your hugs are amazing and very much needed. Feeling human contact helps most grievers (always good to check first). You try to keep us connected to the world and this is a difficult one for us but it is important. We aren’t always open to it but you keep trying and we appreciate it.
A Salute to the Long Distance Friends and Family
And to the far away friends and family who can’t help in person with hugs or food or running errands. You call us and let us know that you care and are thinking about us. You like our posts about our grief on social media. You let us know we can call you and cry to you anytime and we do and you let us and it helps so much. You send us messages and cards in the mail reminding us that we have friends all over the world who are thinking about us and loving us.
You let us talk about our person, you let us talk about our pain. You listen or read our posts without judgment and you send us so much support and love through all methods of communication. You help make our new foundation stronger and you are so important.
We appreciate all of you and we want you to keep trying if you can accept that we aren’t going to always know what we want and we aren’t going to know how to react to even the most innocuous seeming things sometimes. Please keep letting us know that you are thinking about us. Please keep letting us know that you remember our person and who we were with our person.
It really isn’t easy being a friend or family member to somebody who is grieving. Especially if you are going through your own things and/or also grieving. That amount of pain is a tough wall to break through. But you do it, you did it and you stuck around. I am who I am today because of you. All of you. My gratitude knows no bounds. Thank you, my wonderful friends and family.