It is never easy to know how to help someone when they are grieving. It might very well feel as if there is nothing one can do or say in order to help. I think that I have learned a few things along the way which I will share. No, nobody can take the pain away but it was a great consolation for me to simply have people who knew me well, to be there. They were positive people and knew how to offer a glimmer of hope for the future which helped a great deal. I realized how difficult it was for them to know what to say to me. One friend always stopped short when she was about to mention my son’s or my husband’s name. I told her it was fine to talk about them. In fact, I wanted to talk about them. By skirting the subject, I almost felt as though we were erasing the lives of two people I’d loved dearly.
Being a good listener is always a positive trait and there were times when I had a great need to talk and be listened to. When I mourned the loss of our son, my husband was there for me and we had each other, but when I was mourning the loss of my husband, I needed to talk a lot, and not only to my children. Maybe I was repetitive, but I think that it is natural to relate what occurred over and over, especially when it is very fresh and excruciatingly painful.
I so appreciated it when friends asked me to join them for walks along the beach, for a casual meal, or for the odd day trip away from it all.
Friends who had also lost their husbands, were the ones who offered the best suggestions as they understood only too well, having experienced similar emotions. They were the ones who pointed out that the process would be a long, uphill one, but with a positive attitude, I had to make the journey from pain and despair, to living again. They were right. Almost four years have dragged by since my husband passed away, and I can see a small light at the end of the tunnel. Of course both my husband and my son will always be remembered.