Let Them Know

We experienced so much love, care, sympathy and help from friends and family when we were grieving the death of our family. It was overwhelming in that saying, ‘Thank you” just never seemed enough to show our appreciation.

However, sometimes things were said or done that wasn’t what I wanted or needed. I kept in mind that it was truly done in love.  Friends and family just wanted to help and do whatever they could to lesson our pain.

It’s best to let them know what you need and the best way for them to help you. If you’re anything like me this could take some effort because I never want to offend someone or hurt their feelings.

As we were grieving we, of course, weren’t thinking clearly and our minds were in a fog. Sometimes we didn’t know what we wanted or needed. It is so helpful to have a trusted friend or family member help you deal with all the decisions that need your attention, however, even then we need to speak up and voice our concerns and what we want or need.

For me, personally, I was finally able to speak up and tell people what I needed. For instance, when someone asked me, “How are you doing?” I found the question to be too general. I felt like saying, “Really? I can’t believe you just asked me that.” So, I would answer, “Right at this moment I am doing okay.” Or, “Right at this moment I am very sad.” A friend of mine picked up on that pretty quick. And I smile as I think about it. She learned to ask me, “How are you doing?… Right at this moment?” It made me laugh and yet I was so appreciative because I could focus on the moment. Honestly speaking, I was, more often than not, not okay.  There was too much loss and if affected every aspect of my life. My heart still felt the sting of such a great tragedy. But, for just a little while, being with my friends, I was doing okay.

Another time, when I went back to work every one was so concerned about me and kept “checking in” to see how I was doing. That meant a lot to me. It’s hard for the very sensitive, “touchy – feely” people to give those who are grieving their space sometimes. When I went back to work I was given the freedom to leave the classroom and “hide out” in the library or teacher’s lounge whenever I needed to. Sometimes I would “be found” and a huge, rib-crushing, hug was placed upon me by one individual. (Who was very sweet and a good friend.) Sometimes, I had just calmed myself down and was ready to get back to the classroom and the hug would inevitably get me crying all over again. Or, there were times, I hadn’t calmed myself down quite yet and the huge, rib-crushing, hug made it worse. Eventually, I spoke up and said, “I’m really sad today. But I’ll be all right in a few minutes.” At which point I held out my hand towards her, or anyone coming my way with arms opened wide, letting them know, “Please don’t hug me just now.” As soon as I saw this person get up out of her chair, I’d put my hand up and she sat back down. I even did it with my own sister. Which I think shocked her. Being twins, that special bond brings us closer to one another that you don’t have with anybody else. My older sister would whisper to my twin, “She’s okay. Give her a minute.”

At times such as these, let people know that you either need some space and want to be alone, or, that you don’t want to be alone, please sit with me, but be a “silent partner” so-to-speak, for just a few minutes. I never felt that I offended any of them. I felt their love, support, and compassion. Eventually, someone would say something that made us laugh.

I am extremely grateful to God for the friends He has put in my life to walk alongside me.

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” (Proverbs 17: 17 NLT)