We went to a visitation recently. The woman was in my husband's high school class. He's in his early 60's so we haven't gone to many visitations in that age group. Marion was killed in a UTV accident.
Living in the same rural area all her life and her children all staying in the area means there were many family, friends and acquaintances attending the visitation. Marion was a sweet, caring person. I've never met someone who had anything negative to say about her. There were over 800 people at the visitation.
When I heard about the accident my first thought was of Bill, her husband. Bill is a gentle man who exudes the love of God in every word, look and hug. I knew he would take her death very hard.
I saw Bill yesterday at McDonalds. He was there with a good friend whom I also know. I went and gave him a hug and sat with them for a while and talked. Bill's grief is evident in his eyes. His love of God is not broken. He's not bitter or angry. It's a testament to his faith and knowledge of God's character.
Bill said something that I think everyone should take to heart. He said, "When you see me come and talk to me. Talk to me about Marion."
We all (myself included) struggle with the "right thing to say" and so we often avoid those who are grieving. We don't want to hurt their feelings by saying the wrong thing. I think that, unless you go out of your way to say something negative, anything you say will be welcome. A hug, an expression of understanding that you grieve with them will go a long way to easing their emptiness at that moment.
There's an old man who lost his wife suddenly last year. He goes to McDonalds everyday. Whenever I see him I at least say hi. Often I sit with him for a few minutes. I ask him how he's doing, which isn't very well. I touch his arm or give him a hug. Do I feel awkward? Often. I didn't know her well but we always chatted when we saw each other. Does it do much to assuage his grief? Maybe not, but I give him what I can and I can tell he appreciates it.
Those grieving don't need profound words. They need the love given in understanding and compassion. Don't worry about saying the right thing. Simply say something.
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