No matter who we are, at some time or another, we are going to experience grief in our lifetime. Some of us will not only experience grief, but we will experience traumatic events as well. There is no way to prepare for trauma. It sneaks upon you out of nowhere, like an ambush. Grief can be this way as well. You are not prepared for either of these happening, and you don’t know when the symptoms will occur. I can remember times that I was in the grocery store, and I felt like grief was going to overtake me in the aisle. The symptoms of grief are different for everyone. Some of them may be:
inability to stop crying
physical pain and eye troubles
Job experienced trauma and grief. He lost everything that he owned in no time: everything and everyone except his wife. For some reason, ever since I was a child, I marveled over how there was always one person who was able to come back and relay the news to Job about the next devastation that hit him. I have been there with Job. When you get to the point of such compounded trauma, you just end up numbing out. Your brain just can’t seem to handle it all. Job’s friends came to support him, and they were fine until they opened their mouth. God ended up reprimanding them for going on and on to Job with wild explanations for his “suffering”: After the LORD had finished speaking to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has.” Job 42:7, NLT
Here are six tips to take to heart if we know someone who is suffering from grief or trauma.
1. Words and Physical Touch: Express to your friends or loved ones how much you love them with words or giving them a hug. If you are not sure of what to say, then just sit with them and say nothing. Sometimes we say the wrong things without realizing it, even if they are true. As Christians, we do know that if that person was saved, they will be in heaven with Jesus. However, it is still hard sometimes for this reality to be of comfort to a person. It is also hard for people to wrap their minds around the fact that the person is no longer suffering. It is still a loss to that person. Sometimes it is better to remind a person that you will be praying for them.
2. Meals: Offer to bring meals over, as well as setup a mealtrain with the small groups at church, as well as the neighborhood friends.
3. Calls and Errands: Offer to run errands or make calls to family members, friends, and churches to inform them of the death. Sometimes when we are in such shock, your focus and memory is off. If the person has a phone book or contact list, it would be nice to go through the list and call each person.
4. Babysit: Suggest taking the kids for a few hours so that the person has time to process and grieve what has happened without having to stuff their pain and scare their children. This is especially helpful if the children are young.
5. Pamper: Treat your friend or loved one to something that would make them feel good: getting a facial, mani-pedi, beauty or barber shop appointment, or a nice outfit.
Have a blessed night!