The email had been sent late the night before. My colleague was like the majority of you in the Beyond Your Grief community, unsure of what to say to support someone grieving.
The message continued, “I had not heard from this person for nearly a year. They had experienced many deaths in the past four years. I welcomed their call during my work day until each of the suggestions I offered was met with resistance. I finally just shut up and listened. Sometimes I repeated what they said. When they no longer said anymore, I simply responded ‘I am sorry that life is so hard right now.’ They said ‘thank you’ and the call ended. Help! Clearly they just wanted to vent/to be heard. I don’t know how to be with my friend. I am a doctor. I know how to diagnose and treat. People come because they want a solution. They expect me to fix them. Will you teach me how to offer support to someone who is grieving? I will gladly pay you.”
My email reply was simple:
So it sounds like you want guidance to be:
In connection and offer protection as an active listener.
They do not want either correction (to see how they are keeping themselves in the loop of grief) or Direction as they were resistive to each of your solutions.
Simply remembering how you know when you are in Connection…….(You feel present, grounded, calm, and breathe deeply) and feel Protection/safe with another will guide you.
Just feel into remembering what it is like being in your wondrous spiritual community and be THAT for her.
How do you show up there?
You look people in the eye. (In the case of this call, you look with the eye of your heart.)
You are at the same level with them either sitting or standing.
You listen with your whole body, being in the present moment. In that community, you are not worrying about what to say next.
You are relaxed. There are pauses in the conversation. People sigh. You don’t feel like you have to be ‘on’ to say the next right answer.
You are enough. Just being there in connection as the safety you bring as loving protection, is enough. When you communicate with those people it is like a dance.
If you’re struggling with the emotional process of grief...
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