When The Unthinkable Happens: Helping a Grieving Friend
By Catherine Behan on August 12, 2008
Every now and then, life throws a curve ball with devastating impact. There isn’t one of us who will escape. That is the path of life. In the midst of a deeply challenging event, it is hard to know what side is up. There is no spare energy for anything beyond stark survival.
It doesn’t really matter what the precipitating event is. Could be the death of a loved one, the injury of a family member, a life threatening illness or even the remarriage of a parent. Each of us responds to the shocks of life in our own personal way, but we all share the experience those inevitable shocks.
If you have a friend who is in the middle of one of these situations, I know it is excruciating to know she is going through this terrible time. I also know it is just as painful to not know what to do to help her. When she needs the most encouragement she ever has, her friends are inexplicably paralyzed.
Well, here you are, reading these words. If you are in this scenario there are some things you can do right away. First of all, send cute funny cards. Send them a lot. There is nothing like getting real snail mail. There is something about seeing the handwriting of a friend that brings lasting relief.
Send the DVD of your favorite comedy. Laughter is indeed the best medicine. Providing your friend with her own library of comedies to choose from is another lasting gift.
Don’t be afraid to call on the phone. She will definitely be screening or will turn the phone off if she is resting but she can play your message over and over and hear you speak positive, loving thoughts to her. She will probably not answer but don’t let that stop you.
If she is in a health crisis, send a card to her primary care giver. He or She is probably exhausted, scared and really lonely. A warm wish from you will be a nice surprise and she will really appreciate someone acknowledging her beloved helper.
What are some other ideas you have seen? How can we be angels to one another when we are in the fight of our lives? I’m sure you all have some great ideas and resources to add to my list!
Life’s lessons are tough ones. Let’s get through them together!
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