But then again, if it helps someone else. I've learned something from this unwanted path we've been made to walk. This unwanted path called grief. So much so that I called a former co-worker and apologized for anything I may have said or done some years ago when she lost a child and walked the path we're walking. I was relieved when she said I had not. What have I learned?
~3 weeks after the loss, it's too soon to hear a message on grief
~for each person the path is different, the time is different, each moment is different, and let each deal with it in their way and in their own time frame. From those that have come alongside us that have lost a child, this time frame may be until the Lord takes me home. Years later several I know are still aching.
~don't tell someone they can handle it or they'll have a ministry or God can and will use it, at that point they don't want to be a comfort to anyone else and they can't see beyond the next moment of pain, let alone down the road to any kind of comfort for another. I have asked God, "why" many times and His answer is always the same, "my ways are not your ways".
~don't tell them to be strong for someone else that isn't as close to the loved one. My son, his brother's identical twin, was told to be strong for a cousin that wasn't handling the loss well. Excuse me?
~if you can't think of anything to say...that's really ok. Maybe even better. Just hug us and let us cry and talk. Don't avoid us because you can't think of anything to say. Those hugs are crucial. And let us talk and cry. Don't change the subject if we do cry or bring up their name. That hurts even more. We want to remember and talk and even laugh and for sure, cry. And someone letting us do that outside of our little immediate family helps.
~bring meals, even if we say we don't want them. It does help.
~siblings are hurting too. They need what the parents are getting just as much because their parents can't be there for them. Someone came alongside our daughter who can't express her feelings and got out of her what she was feeling.
~unfortunately we will remember what you say, especially if it hurts. Someone told our son who lost his identical twin, "Well, at least I'll know which one you are." We would rather you didn't. Better to just not say anything.
~and all those years of being told to memorize scripture because someday you may need it? They were so right. I always thought it meant if I got stuck in a prison camp without my Bible. Each day verses have come to mind that I didn't even know I'd really memorized. Today I just sat and read to my grandmunchkins and held them. The verse where Jesus told Martha that Mary had chosen the better part came to mind. The other day the verse where Job asks his wife if we should accept only good from God and not trouble as well? But always the verse where God says His ways are not our ways but higher than our ways.
~I can't face 30 or 40 more years without my son. It looks bleak. But I can take "one day at a time". Someone even got me a placque that read that. It sits where I see it constantly.
~Pray for those that are grieving...they can't do it themselves for awhile.
~Don't forget those that are left after the Memorial service. The one month anniversary was extremely hard for me. I couldn't quit crying. God sent people that day and messages and phone calls. I imagine there were be other days just as hard. So don't forget that person.
Ok, now go love someone that's hurting.