When the news shows us another tragedy, such as the horrific events that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, it’s unimaginable trying to visualize what the parents and family went through. What do you say to someone who has lost a child?
The best thing?
Often when we see someone going through a hard time, we feel pressured to give some sort of consolation. It’s understandable—we feel bad for the person and we want them to feel better, but many times what a grieving person needs most is not a series of platitudes or bible verses, but simply your presence.
Grief is the most complex series of emotions anyone can go through.
There’s sadness, anger, rage, despair, confusion and more. Grief can’t be pushed aside, ignored or softened. It has to be experienced. It has to be metabolized. Failure to do this can lead to negative long term effects. It won’t go away unless it’s dealt with.
But how? Through the support of other people who care.
When you’re grieving, sometimes God doesn’t seem to be there at all. God often doesn’t answer the ‘whys’ during those hard times. We too should refrain from doing so when comforting others.
Just be there for them.
Sit in a living room in silence with them for a few hours.
Listen to them talk about the person they lost.
Laugh when they laugh as they remember the good times.
Help them feel less alone.
They’ll thank you for it. You will be the presence of God to them during those darkest hours.
For more on the topic of grief, see: Dealing with Loss