“I just don’t know what to say . . .”
This is by far the most common comment I hear from my fans as we talk about helping a friend who has experienced a death loss. Even though I lost my mom when I was 13, for the longest time I still wasn’t sure what to say to other grievers.
Here’s what I know now: When someone we care about is grieving, we sometimes feel paralyzed. We so badly want to take her pain away, but we aren’t sure of the right words. We want to help, but we fear that our ideas won’t be what she really needs or that we might be adding more to her already full plate.
Unfortunately, those uncertainties prevent many people from doing anything. As their own lives get busier, the urgency to help out fades behind life’s problems.
Friends, here is some amazing news: You don’t have to have the perfect word, meal, or activity planned.
The more I interview guests on my show, The Healing Half, the more I am reminded of the powerful truth that our job is to be there for them in their grief—not to fix their grief.
Take the pressure off yourself to “heal” the terrible loss they are experiencing. God didn’t create humans to do something so extreme. If we could just wave a magic wand and say the perfect phrase, how then would God have the opportunity to work with them through this difficult chapter? It’s not our job to do God’s work.
Instead, there is something we can do that is unbelievably comforting and actually within our control: Be there. Be present with them.
We are designed to be in community with our loved ones through joys, through sorrows, and through everything in between. Whether it’s just sitting in silence while watching a movie 10 nights in a row or showing up with meals and allowing them to talk about whatever they want to, being present matters.
You might not feel like a coffee date every two weeks is that big of a deal, but if that is something your loved one wants to do, and if it allows you two to be together, it is a VERY big deal.
The people who were there physically and consistently for the guests on my show are the ones my guests remember as the most helpful. Let that pattern sink in.
In some ways, it seems so plain and simple; but sacrificing time is harder than it looks!
So plan out a 6-month schedule (you read that correctly—6 months for your inner circle of loved ones) of how you can consistently be there for your loved one, because one interaction is just one drop in the bucket—and that bucket needs filling.
Here’s a phrase I love to use that you can keep with you always: You set the time, they’ll set the agenda.
It’s not about fixing, it’s about being there so you can be what they need in that moment.
So, let’s go get our calendars out! It’s time to push aside the fear of not knowing what to do and do something by showing up physically and consistently.
I am so passionate about talking through these hard questions because I don’t want anyone to feel as isolated as I did after my mom’s death. Head to my website, www.mikispeer.com, to listen to my song, “See Me” and stay in touch—I would love to hear your success stories about implementing this practice!
Miki Speer is a 6’4” musician/writer/public speaker whose mother died when she was 13. She specializes in creating content that inspires healing in the arenas of grief and body image. She loves sharing how God has moved mountains in those areas for her and how He will do the same for you. www.mikispeer.com