Most of us are so far removed from death. Our loved ones die in hospitals and nursing homes – sometimes alone. Their earthly remains are taken away before we are able to properly say goodbye. It is no wonder that we often are speechless and don’t know what to say when we are face to face with someone who is recently bereaved.
Before I was bereaved – I may have said clumsy things or worse – nothing. Now that I am bereaved – I know from experience that when we are grieving – we need to talk about our loved ones.
When someone dies, crosses over, passes away… she lives on in the memory of those who loved her.
Ask the bereaved “Tell me about your mother” then wait – do not be alarmed if tears begin to fall. Let them fall. Do not rush to silence them by saying “there, there” or stopping them with a tissue. Let them fall. Hold sacred space for the bereaved and let her weep. When she is ready, she will tell you about her mother. If you are patient – you may even see the transformation from grief to joy as memories temporarily nudge the grief aside. Sometimes a funny story – laughter through tears. Sometimes silence – companionable silence – where tears are welcomed and not dried.
- We honor our loved ones when we can tell their stories.
- We honor our loved ones when we weep for them.
- We honor the living when we don’t silence them.