Updated: Oct 29, 2019
I have just lost a friend. Young. Suddenly. Leaving his wife and young children in shock.
I watched outpourings on Facebook and felt the need to write this.
May I share something bereavement has taught me? Don’t say “if there is anything I can do, please let me know” chances are in a bereaved state you won’t know. You won’t know you need to eat, you won’t remember the kids have a dentist appointment, you won’t know the lawn needs mowing, you won’t know the email password for that really important thing… For those of use that are left behind feeling helpless, there are practical thing we can do. They don’t ease the pain but they mean it frees those closest to process in their own way.
As technology links us so rapidly, sometimes it makes us forget the importance of face to face or picking up the phone, especially when you don’t know what to say. Get over that fear. This is no time for your smaller self to be unsure what to say. They are your friend. Pick up the phone. Leave a message. Remind them they are loved. They don’t have to pick up, but the voices of those you love are so much more real on answerphones than in text.
If there’s one thing I have learnt, it’s that it is far easier to decline help than to ask for it. Show up with food. Collect photographs and memories. Turn up and do the laundry. I remember someone once saying to me you can never say you are there for someone unless you are willing to just turn up and do their dishes.
And if you get turned away, remember this isn’t about you, it’s about you showing up.