That is the gift of PRESENCE!
And it can be the hardest gift to give. Because we want to DO something and we want to FIX it! We don’t like seeing others hurt and in pain.
So what do we do that we probably shouldn’t? We try to talk them out of the pain by telling them how it could be worse, what is good about their situation, how we can relate, how it will get better with time, or we try to take their mind off it by keeping them occupied with something else. We might avoid them all together as we have no idea what to do and we are scared we will do the wrong thing.
We don’t realize that this actually has to do more with our comfort than with the comfort of the person hurting. Most of us have not been taught to be comfortable with the sad emotions of others. Actually, most of us are not comfortable with our own sad emotions.
There are times when it is totally appropriate and necessary to be sad. The best thing we can do to support our friends who are hurting from a loss is to give them acceptance as they are and as they feel.
Say little and be there. Just be there!
Show up. Tell them you have no idea what to say or do but you care, your heart is breaking for them and you are going to just sit with them. They can do whatever they want but you will be there with them as they do it.
As time goes on, the gift of presence is even more important. As most people go back to their regular life, the grieving one’s life has come to a halt. They are in shock. Everything has changed for them.
Please, continue to show up! Reach out to them, acknowledge them on holidays or special reminder days. If there are children involved and they have lost a parent, please show up on those special days when their parent would have been there — birthday, graduation, Father’s or Mother’s Day.
Just think about what days or times they will probably really be missing their loved one and show up — in person, with a phone call or a card.
You care and you want to help. If you didn’t, you heart wouldn’t be hurting for them. You have the heart. You just need to know the actions. Often, presence makes more of an impact than anything you can say.
Presence can be the best gift of all — and it is often the hardest one to give.