I had a precious friend write me this morning, and ask me this, “I am going to a funeral in the morning of a friend that has lost her son. Is there something that a friend said to you that took a little bit of the hurt away? “
And as I responded to her, I thought I would repost it here. So many people have asked me what to say, what not to say, in this situation. All of us want to help someone that is hurting so deeply, and yet we just do not know what to do or say. What follows is my response to her…
“Friend, you are so precious to want to take her pain away. Absolutely precious. But you can’t…there is absolutely nothing you can say or do that will put her shattered heart back together. Condolences are beautiful and well meaning, but they can seem trite when someone is in agonizing pain, as she is. I would just hold her, cry with her, tell her how sorry you are, and tell her you cannot even imagine how much pain she’s in.
And then check in…like you have done with me. Check in often, but check in, in a way that does not require a response. Text her that you’re thinking about her. Write her a card that relives a precious memory that you have of her son…with all of the details. She will weep, but it will mean so much to her. Text her months from now and tell her, that her child is not forgotten…that you will never forget. And don’t forget him. Check in occasionally reminding her that he is not forgotten, she is not forgotten.
So rather than focusing on trying to take her pain away, be willing to enter into the pain with her, walk beside her, cry with her, laugh with her, remember with her. And in doing so, you will be taking away some of the pain.”
As I was writing this, I was so aware of how many of you have done that for me…countless touch-ins that have enable me to breathe for another day, soothed my soul, pulled me out of darkness, caused me to weep healing tears, helped to glue pieces of my broken heart back into place. Your touch-ins have been life giving, and your willingness to enter into my pain and sit beside me for however long it takes has enabled soul survival.
You all know who you are, and I will never be able to express my gratefulness or how much it has meant to me. But know this…and know it is as true as the gospel itself…I could not do this without you. Thank you for entering into my pain, and in doing so, helping to bear the parts I am not strong enough to bear alone.