Recently, I visited with a friend who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. On my way to their home, the question kept running through my mind, ” What do I say? or better yet, What do I not say?” Struggling with this question, I thought,” they know they are passing soon and surely todays events are not something they want to discuss.” Long story short, we visited, and I shared my concern of what to say. My mind was set at ease when I was told, “Just be you.”
As a funeral director, many times I have experienced this same question when working with families who have just lost a loved one, What do I say? Unfortunately, human nature encourages us to avoid the situation. As humans, we tend to want to be in control of all situations and always be comfortable. What we need to realize is that those that are grieving want to be reached out to. They want you to talk to them or sometimes just sit with them and not say a word. Our presence alone can often provide a source of comfort. We often use the excuse, well, maybe they are resting, I`ll visit another time. Most times, another time, never comes.
To help myself better understand, I recalled the time my grandfather passed away. How did I feel? Did I want someone to call me, visit, give me a hug? I remembered that I did. Sure, there were a few moments that I wanted to be alone but for the most part, It made me feel loved, that someone would take the time out of their busy life to come and tell me that they care and they are thinking of me. So, I encourage you to make the extra effort to reach out to those who are grieving, who are suffering, who are really needing to know that someone cares. Don`t worry about what to say, that will happen naturally. Your call or visit just may be the thing that helps someone through a difficult moment.