Love. Empathy. Healing.

“You’re alone, you’re on your own, so what?Have you gone blind?
Have you forgotten what you have and what is yours?”

–excerpt of the song King by Lauren Aquilina

Grief can feel like emptiness; like being alone at the bottom of a dark pit. It can be easy to forget all of the things you have, the blessings in your life, and the things that fill you with joy when faced with the bitterness of losing a loved one. Or maybe you remember those things but just feel numb and don’t care. Grief strikes out of the blue, months after your loss and can show up feeling as fresh as a new wound. It can also be a constant throb, gnawing at you for weeks on end, with you left wondering if it will ever go away. “It’s not a good feeling,” would probably be the understatement of the year.

So how do we support those around us suffering from this deep pain? Loved ones leaving is an event that does not wait for the best moment, but can strike when we least expect. We can’t prepare for it, no matter how prepared we may think we are for the unexpected. Thus it is increasingly important for our loved ones to remind us that there is an end to the pain, that there is hope, and that they are still there for us. Don’t let a grieving friend go into that dark place alone.

  1. Be there for them. Show up at their house and just do. Make food. Clean. Tell jokes. Just be useful in some capacity and be there.
  2. Call them. Let them cry. Let them tell. Let them curse it out. Validate their emotions by being willing to listen.
  3. Send them mail. Letters of encouragement. Food baskets. Anything to show that you are still there for them more than a week after their loss has occurred.
  4. Don’t stop showing up in the above ways a week after the incident. Grief is long and unforgiving. Send them texts to check in with them three months after their loss. Send them that mail. Your friend will appreciate it.

We are social creatures. We need love and it hurts immensely to lose it. Please be there for anyone who needs the love, whether that be your family, friends, sisters, or brothers. You could save a life. Why wait to reach out?

Info on the 5 Stages of Grief

Yemaya Chapter, Lehigh University

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