We never know when we’ll be called upon to walk with someone who is experiencing the sorrow of losing a loved one. For me, this happened recently when a dear friend, whom I’ve known for years, died suddenly. To say she had been a light in the lives of everyone who knew her would be an understatement.
She had been happy and healthy until a few minutes before she died, leaving her husband of more than 40 years, four grown children and many grandchildren in a state of shock. As I prepared to greet the mourners, I reflected on what I had read about what to say and do and I just connected with the compassion I felt for her family.
What amazed me was the tone of the comments I heard from some well-wishers. I’m certain most of them meant well, but as we have all done, they just said the wrong thing because they didn’t know what else to say.
Her death was a tragic loss that was actually palpable in the room where her family had gathered. It left a hole in the lives of those who saw her on a daily basis, yet people made comments such as, “You’re lucky she didn’t get old and suffer,” and “It’s good this happened now, while you’re still young enough to find someone else.”
Because we never know when we’ll need deal with grief, or reach for the wisdom to console a friend, I am happy to refer again to Belleruth’s Do’s and Don’ts for the Bereaved and Their Well-meaning Friends.
We have received feedback from many people, who tell us that Belleruth’s Heartbreak, Abandonment & Betrayal is also helpful for those seeking to mend the heartbreak of losing a loved one.
Walking with sorrow is never easy, but in the words of Robert Browning’s Along the Road, it has much to teach us.
I walked a mile with Pleasure.
She chattered all the way.
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow.
And ne’er a word said she,
But oh the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me.
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