Many of my readers are currently navigating the journey of grief with close relatives or friends. Grief changes people. Grief changes the everyday routines of the home. Grief changes relationship dynamics. Grief can be very troubling.
It can often be very difficult to deal with a grieving person. It’s hard to know what to say and when. It’s easy to offend a grieving heart. It’s tempting to try and “rush” the grief. We just want that person “back to normal.”
I want to offer a few thoughts on grief and ways to give love to a grieving heart. This list is by no means exhaustive. However, I think these ideas may encourage that person who is struggling in relationship to a grieving person.
1. Realize grief is normal and healthy.
2. Grief has no timetable . . . but must be processed. (Do NOT rush!)
3. Everyone grieves differently.
4. Grief can be crippling . . . offer to serve the grieving person.
5. Exercise patience.
6. Don’t take things personally.
7. Pray with and for.
9. Be a stream of goodness . . . don’t drain their energies but rather refresh their hearts.
10. Encourage exercise . . . offer to engage with them.
11. Spend time with them . . . they may not want to be alone.
12. Give space . . . when needed and asked for.
13. Be aware of depression and watch for signs.
14. Seek help slowly and gently. Go with them to the doctor or counselor.
15. Recommend a physical checkup.
16. Invite them to attend activities with you. (Don’t quit asking if they say “no” a few times.)
17. Give much grace and be kind.
18. Encourage healthy eating.
20. Understand there are triggers to grief.
21. Remind them of God’s faithfulness and steadfast love.
22. Help sort through belongings.
23. Attend griefshare together. Attend church together.
24. Be willing to share/shift roles and responsibilities.
25. Never assume you understand how the person is feeling but rather ask and seek to love them where they are.
26. Lower expectations temporarily.
27. Don’t run away from tears.
28. Provide resources for healing . . . books, music, gift cards, flowers, activities, retreats, etc.
29. Assure them of your love and commitment to the relationship. Don’t abandon them when things get hard!
30. Allow others to serve your family in your loss. Ask for help.
31. Don’t go at it alone . . . surround yourself with community.
32. Expect that holidays and special memories are often very difficult. Let them know you understand.
33. Remind yourself that healing from grief does come eventually.
34. Trust God to usher in “new life” for your grieving loved one or friend. Wait on Him.
35. Remember I Corinthians 13 and seek to extend love in this way:
“Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”