34 Hours to Think
I’ve logged 34 hours on the road to and from funerals in the last six months. One of which was my dad’s. This sobering realization got me thinking - How can we best take care of each other when we lose a loved one?
We bake casseroles, send flowers, and faithfully attend memorial services. We cry and share wonderful memories. And then we part ways and go home to mourn alone.
There is no perfect “one size fits all” way to help when the time comes, but the three things below have helped Bailey and I, as we navigate our loss.
Don’t stop talking about the lost loved one. We love to talk about Bruce and it is so nice when someone else has a memory of him that they want to share with us.
Find a tangible way to help. If you can address “Thank You” notes or run errands, volunteer to do so and follow through. The entire funeral and “goodbye” process is complicated, messy, and exhausting. Be a proactive help instead of waiting to see “if” you can help.
Remember that if you put expectations on the grieving, you are going to be disappointed. For me, the entire funeral week was a blur and anything requested of me at that time, I have likely forgotten. Same goes for Bailey. Let your grieving ones grieve and approach them with requests a few weeks after the funeral week.
Overall, having clarity and strength of purpose will help you define how you help. If you’re the friend who helps sort and donate household items, be the best at it. If you’re the family member who advises the college-age child on financial matters, be the best at it. If you’re the spouse who picks up the slack at home, be the best at it.
Use your unique talent to be a comfort, as it is a guarantee that comfort will always be needed in this regard.
PS- Bailey and I are so fortunate to have friends and family who took care of us in the ways listed above and beyond. Thank you, you have our sincerest gratitude.