To Those Who Would Keep on Comforting Me Part 2

In “To Those Who Would Comfort Me, Part 1″ ” which I wrote right after the first anniversary of my brother’s death,  (read it HERE)  I reference the things I noticed in the early days of my grief journey.

The following is from a Sept. 2010 entry in my journal as I was approaching 5th anniversary of my brother’s death. (If you do not know my story, you can read it starting HERE. These are things that I noticed that continued to help me during those first years.

I understand this is my story, my journey and perhaps some of these things would not be helpful for everyone, but perhaps there is something in my story that will help you as you care for those you know who are grieving.

Use his name.
I like his name
and I am pleasantly startled
when you use it,
especially when you didn’t
even know him.
Hearing his name makes him real
on the days  it feels like he
isn’t.

Don’t avoid talking about him
because you are afraid it will
make me think about him
make me sad.
I’m already sad.
I think about him all the time
anyway.

Hearing you talk about him |
makes me happy.
If you knew him,
tell me stories.
If you didn’t
ask me. Let me talk about
him.

Don’t be afraid of my tears.
Tears are good for me.
Letting them flow instead of
trying to hold them back
because I am afraid
you will be upset is a
relief.

If you see me weeping during worship,
You don’t need to say anything.
Worship makes me tender.
Nothing you say will make it better.
A touch, a hug . . .
let’s me know you
care.

It’s OK to ask about
my parents
his wife
his kids
but please ask about me too.
Asking validates my own grief.

I realize being with me in my grief
can bring up your own losses,
I can’t handle your grief
and mine too.
And details about your losses
can make it feel like we are in a
competition.

I can tell if you have suffered loss.
You don’t have to tell me
And if you haven’t,
hug me,
pray for me
especially if you really will
pray.

You can’t fix this
You can’t change this.
You can’t make it better.
You can pray for me,
and give me the time I need
for this journey.

My brother Gordon explaining his new Video Camera. I have no idea what he is saying, but I’m so happy to be with him, I listen intently. I am deeply grateful for Creative Memories and the opportunities it gave us to be together. The occasion here is Leadership Conf. 2004, Atlanta, GA. He and Carol had taken a long dreamed-of trip to South Alabama where Gordon spent the first couple years of his life.  On the way back they stopped at the Leadership Conference, where he impressed me with the wonders of his new video camera.

Click HERE for To Those Who Would Comfort Me (part one)

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  19. Carol, you have some great stuff here for those grieving. Both Russ and I have had 40 years between us dealing with the loss of parents and other losses that still impact us after so many years. But our family in the body of Christ has been amazing in these situations. The best was (and is) the “gift of presence,” when many friends gave in creative and very helpful ways.
    There’s a multitude of things one can do to help bear the burden of grief, especially when the family is busy with funeral arrangements, visitations and the inevitable taking care of “family business.” For example, when my dad died, my cousin took my kids (they were little at the time) out to McDonalds and a play space so they could expend energy during the viewing. Friends from our church in Wisconsin traveled the 3 hours to South Holland (far south suburb) just to BE there, available when needed and praying the rest of the time. What a gift.
    Traversing the “valley of the shadow of death” is unique for each of us. It is a blessing when brothers and sisters in Christ walk it with us. (Sorry if this is so long!)

  20. thank you Cyd. As I have already told you, sharing your journey with grief has helped me – isn’t that what it’s all about – being able to walk with each other and to tell our stories. Deeply appreciating your ministry among us at Live on the Vine

  21. What a gift! I resonate so much with what you have written here – and in the first one as well. Thank you for sharing this – especially with so many grieving in our community right now.

  22. Yes Carolyn. Please do share. It’s why I write and anything I put on my Blog is open for sharing. My prayer is that God will help someone else by sharing my story.

  23. This is wonderful. So well thought out from your experiences. May I share this w/a friend who lost her son in Iraq? I believe she would identify much of what you experienced!

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