When someone I know loses a loved one or suffers heartbreak, I often sit and rack my brain for the right thing to say. I struggle with words, which frustrates me. But because I love them and I know how people can mean well, but say the absolute wrong thing, I ponder the right words to say to avoid offending them, yet offer encouragement and love. As time has progressed, I have learned that death is not the only thing that causes our hearts to grieve. We also grieve as a result of lost relationships, divorce, and even lost friendships.
I have come to terms with the idea that most times we just need a warm smile or to know that someone is there, and actively praying with us. It does not have to be some major production or long drawn out thing, just be actively present. As a person who has experienced my own share of loss, I find it is unhealthy to travel through loss alone, even though I like to be alone. I find that when I sit and deal on my own, I have more unhealthy thoughts than when I have loved ones near. The elders say “an idle mind is the devils workshop” and I get that this is not necessarily the context for the statement the evidence of it still holds true.
So the next time you find yourself tempted to fill that empty space with what you think I need to hear, just tell me you love me and if I break into tears, before you reach to hug me or squeeze my hand let me share my gratitude for your presence first. You may be surprised at how much deeper the response is. But know this, if you are not ready to earnestly be there for me, do not offer up a superficial how are you doing. I am going through enough without having to navigate the extra smoke screens of your false empathy.
Be healthy. Be whole. Be you.