Tears shed for another person are not a sign of weakness; they are a sign of a pure, loving heart.
We all know deep down that life is short, and that death will happen to all of us eventually, and yet we are infinitely shocked when it happens to someone we love. It’s like walking up a flight of stairs with a distracted mind, and misjudging the final step. You expected there to be one more stair than there is, and so you find yourself off balance for a moment, before your mind shifts back to the present moment and how the world really is.
Angel and I have dealt with the loss of siblings and best friends to illness, so we know from experience that when you lose someone you can’t imagine living without, your heart breaks wide open. And the bad news is you never completely get over the loss – you will never forget them. However, in a backwards way, this is also the good news.
You see, death is an ending, which is a necessary part of living. And even though endings like these often seem ugly, they are necessary for beauty too – otherwise it’s impossible to appreciate someone or something, because they are unlimited. Limits illuminate beauty, and death is the definitive limit – a reminder that we need to be aware of this beautiful person, and appreciate this beautiful thing called life. Death is also a beginning, because while we have lost someone special, this ending, like the loss of any wonderful life situation, is a moment of reinvention. Although sad, their passing forces us to reinvent our lives, and in this reinvention is an opportunity to experience beauty in new, unseen ways and places. And finally, of course, death is an opportunity to celebrate a person’s life, and to be grateful for the beauty they showed us.
That’s just a small slice of what coping with loss has taught us, and I’m sure it has taught you some things as well.
But, as Angel and I have recently been reminded, there’s a big difference between understanding how to personally cope with loss and understanding how to help someone else cope with it. When someone you love and respect is grieving the loss of a loved one, the right words and gestures rarely come easy.
So the reminders below are for Angel and me, as we attempt to comfort a dear friend who is grieving. These aren’t universal clarifications, but simple guidelines that give us a general starting point for helping our grief-stricken loved ones cope and heal, gradually. Perhaps you will find value in them as well.
1. A person who’s grieving already knows that time heals wounds, and they don’t need to be reminded of it.
When you’re grieving, everyone wants to remind you that time will heal your pain, but no one can seem to tell you exactly what you’re supposed to do and how you’re supposed to cope right now. And that’s all you really want to know.
Because it’s right now that you can’t sleep. It’s right now that you can’t eat. It’s right now that you still hear his voice, and [Read more…]