Love Well through Grief & Loss
By Jenafer Aubrey
Your daughter, sister, or friend just experienced a loss of a loved one. Whether by miscarriage or infant death, you are at a loss as to how to love on her in this time of anguish. You came here looking for practical ways to comfort them in their grief… well, you’ve come to right place.
The truth is, many people will never understand that specific pain or loss and some friends minimize it or say the insensitive thing out of ignorance, making it worse. Sometimes it’s just easier to move on from that relationship as it was before the loss because it is so difficult to understand or tolerate the pain your loved one is in. But this isn’t you. You are longing to be there for your grieving loved one.
Remember, as they grieve, there are no timelines or patterns, there are no “shoulds” as in “you should be over this by now” or “this shouldn’t affect you so much” “you should just cheer up”… Grief is a process of love pent up because it cannot be expressed. Grief can only be walked through with the Lord. However, there are things you can do to ease the pain of loss for your loved one.
So here is a few ideas as to how to stay present when there is a loss imposed upon a loved one, even long after the loss occurs. The hardest times are often after the initial shock and eventfulness happens. This is months or even a year later… it feels like others have forgotten, but it still feels so raw to the one who experienced the loss.
Gently and verbally acknowledge the loss of life. Loss of dreams. Loss of expectations. Loss of a future with the baby. Talk about the memories you will miss out on making with their child. Don’t shy away when they need to remember.
Someone grieving is probably not able to ask for help. They may not know what they need. In the case that you are afraid to do the wrong thing or say the wrong thing… pray and ask God what your friend needs. He will give good ideas, so trust what he puts on your heart. It could be as simple as a coffee or as big as grocery delivery or an amazon shipment of thoughtful items.
Take practical things off of their plate like household chores, yard work, grocery shopping, meal prepping and cleaning up after meals. Laundry and pet walking. These things can feel like the weight of the world in the aftermath of loss. I will never forget a close friend sitting on the floor of my closet folding my laundry while I wept on my bed. The laundry had to get done, and her filling that need gave me space to heal in that moment.
Purchase beautiful reminders of their loved one. A piece of art work or a print, something uniquely symbolic to them. It can be therapeutic to color or paint and we sell a beautiful coloring book created for this purpose. Another idea is to gift a blooming house plant; something that’s easy to care for like a peace lily or succulent that will bloom every year in remembrance.
Drop notes in the mail or on their porch often reminding them of God’s love and yours. Texts are good too but the gesture of a physical note is very powerful. Send encouraging songs, scriptures, and prayers often.
If there are other children in the family take them to do fun things. Have them over to play so the parents experiencing loss can rest or send over fun activities the kids can do quietly.
If you don’t get a returned call, text or email… don’t give up and don’t be offended! They are hurting, not devaluing you. Keep reaching out. They need you to come alongside them, even if they feel like isolating.
Just go hang out with them. They may want to talk, they may not…maybe just watch a funny movie or listen to music. Or just sit there and read a book so they aren’t alone. Come into their world of discomfort and show them they are not alone.
Don’t forget that the Husband is experiencing loss too! All of these things apply to him as well.
Celebrate the life! Have a “birthday in heaven party”. I will always remember the time my friends surprised me with flowers, balloons, and a surprise ice cream party to celebrate our loved one. The fact that they cared enough to go the extra mile, meant the world to my healing process.
Jenafer Aubrey heads up our social media team, so thank her for the thoughtful posts that encourage you daily on Instagram + Facebook!