A Letter from the Griever to a Friend

Dear Friend:

As much as I would like to avoid the experience and death of a loved one in my life, it is inescapable and impossible. Jesus tells me in Matthew; “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.” However, you can be one of those that God uses to help me along with the aid of the Holy Spirit as I must learn to grieve in healthy ways and work through my difficulties. You can also help me by following some of these suggestions:

Acknowledge and accept that I will grieve at my own pace. I may progress rather quickly, or very slowly. I will never move at the speed that you believe I should. Help me take and live my life one day at a time.

Keep me company and be there for me. You don’t need to say anything profound or do anything earthshaking. Most likely your greatest help to me is just your quiet presence and simple deeds to help me accept what has occurred in my life.

Please make suggestions and initiate contact with me and invite me to activities. It is important for you to respect my privacy and give me some time alone, but know that I may not have the energy to structure my life after my loss. It doesn’t matter if this death was expected to occur or as my grief and pain isn’t any less. I may need to rely on you to help me think of things that I don’t realize or even know that I need.

Provide me with a safe environment for showing my emotions. It may be very painful for you to witness but it will be of a tremendous help to me in my healing.

Help me to remember the good things. Share with me your memories of my loved one as you listen to me telling you mine. If I begin to show my emotions outwardly, you have not upset me, you have simply enabled me to be honest and safe in your presence.

Be there for me and my family after the first wave is over. The funeral and all that it entails was just the beginning of my journey. Please make the effort to call, to come by, to help me out three, six, nine and even twelve months down the road. Crowds may be difficult for me. Please understand that shopping and holidays may be overwhelming. Please offer me your help. If I am not up for a visit I will let you know, but let me and my family know that you remember and are there for every one of us.

Please listen to me. I need to tell my story over and over in order to process my grief. I may even say some very outrageous things but please don’t judge me by what I say or how I feel. I have a lot to work to get through, and in time, I will come to the answers that are right for me but please allow me the opportunity to find that answer.

Please be careful of using any clich├ęs, religious platitudes, and all of the easy answers. You may not be able to help me with certain issues right now, so please don’t be quick to share your opinions if I say something you don’t agree with. I need time to work things out on my own, but with your gift of tolerance and acceptance it can be done.

Please be sensitive to my needs, be patient, have confidence and believe in me. I will get better, I will experience healing; but it will take time, and it will most probably be rough going for me on much of my journey.
Please be on the look-out for any destructive behaviors in which I might try and/or become entrapped in and dependent upon. My loss may lead me into depression, alcohol or drug abuse. I need you to keep an eye on me while things are especially tough as I process my grief.

Help me to find humorous diversions as laughter is good medicine for my hurting soul.

Please be willing to do difficult things for and/with me. I may need you to sit in court with me; I may need a safe place to be angry and express my rage; I may need help with planning the funeral or afterwards addressing all of the thank you cards. There will be some very hard times ahead and I don’t want to face them alone as it may be a very terrifying experience for me. Please accompany me on this journey.

Help me to find ways to bring good things out of the bad. It is important to me that my loved one be remembered and memorialized.

The more you know and learn about grief, the better equipped you will be to help me and my family. Read some of the books that are available and attend seminars, browse the internet and anything you can to learn about grief. I hope you never have to experience what I am experiencing now but in time I know that you will, and then I can be there for you.

Help me to find inspiration, a poem or song shared with me by you may quite possibly speak to me in ways that no one else can. Talking to someone who has survived a similar loss will help me to realize that I am not alone in my grief. Help me to create a support network that allows me to experience true healing which can only be found in God’s word.

I must go through this valley of grief in order to get to the other side. Dealing with it cannot be avoided. Help me to get through this by praying for me and my family. Your true friendship and companionship, your kindness and patience will help me get my life back together.

For the rest of my natural life, I will continue to experience some level of grief over the death of my loved one. Some days will simply be better lived than others. One day, I hope to reach a point where the good days outnumber the bad and that will become a major milestone in my life.

By following my suggestions you will be obeying the words of the Apostle Paul in Galatians 6:2, Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Thank you for being there for me and my family as we grieve.

The Griever

© Curtis D. Benjamin 2008