One of the hardest things in life is being there for people as they mourn. Everyone grieves differently and not knowing what people need, want, or could use during extreme times of grief is difficult and strange. Especially if you are mourning as well yourself.
We allow ourselves to become apathetic and believe someone else will step in to take care. Someone closer to them, who knows them better, who they want to see more than us. And in some cases that seems appropriate, in others I think we just are talking ourselves out of a difficult situation. My pastor once talked about how Peter, who denied he knew Jesus, must have been haunted by Jesus’ eyes of grace and challenged us to think about who was haunted by our own eyes of grace. Maybe don’t haunt those in grief but I do challenge you to show up for them.
Sitting with people through hard conversations, awkward encounters, tough decisions, and tears is not something we generally feel comfortable with or crave. And yet this is when we need each other the most, this is when we realize who we can count on. It’s hard to know how to be there for others or how to comfort those who are weeping, but something, done in love, is always better than nothing.
I have no good advice here, except that food is something we all need, happy or sad, hopeful or hopeless, near and dear or strangers. Grocery shopping in grief is rough, and essentials are always helpful, maybe show up with a bag of those. Grief brings visitors, offer to supply the drinks and ice needed to entertain others. Show up with a meal, one that can be easily frozen if need be or can feed those there and any others that might show up.
And listen. Or maybe distract. Sometimes, against all odds, a funny story is all that’s needed. A funny story and soup. A distracting hour away from grief can be very therapeutic. And risotto, or pasta, or a casserole… Now I’m hungry. But also inspired.