Culture, God & Grieving: How to Console Your Friend in Times of Mourning
Odds are we have all been there. Someone you love has just lost someone very close to them. Your heart may tell you to be there for them while your mind is asking you how to do it without hurting them more. You pick apart every word of that text message and overthink every sentence you say to them hoping it will make them feel better. Hoping your terrible attempt at tagging them in another Drake meme will make them crack a smile. #fail Here are some tips I’ve written out that have been crucial in my times of mourning.
Establish the Tone
Establishing the tone of the initial talk is important. They may want to treat the loss of their loved one with positivity and the understanding that they are now with the Lord. But they may also need to grieve. Let them talk and let them set the tone about how they want to talk about their loved one. Then you can add to the conversation. No matter what, whatever they are feeling is okay.
Ask Them Questions
Spend more time listening than you do talking. But if your are talking, you should be mostly asking them about stuff. Keep it general and avoid the technicalities like “How did it happen?” (c’mon, don’t be that guy.) or “When is the wake?”. Talk about how the family is, or lighten up the situation with an old inside story including that person, but keep yourself out of the center. This is their time. A time to remember.
Don’t Ask to Chill
If there’s one thing you don’t ask…Don’t ask them to hang out. No one is in the mood to hang out when their loved one just passed. Just declare/state that you are stopping by on x day at x time to take them to lunch or dinner or whatever. This avoids them having to think about something else and takes pressure off of them. They will appreciate it. If not, they will offer to do something else.
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Let Them Know You Will Be Annoying The Crap Out of Them
Mostly because they will not want you to stop checking in on them. Losing a loved one is a sensitive time, and having some one to just sit with and watch Duck Dynasty for 4 hours can make all the difference. Someone who will text you sippin’ my tea memes every 20 minutes when you have a project to finish and you can’t stand your boss’ will or break your day. So please, be that guy.
Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Do Fun Stuff
To a certain extent, keeping your friends mind off of their loss is necessary. Constantly living in a state of gloom and grief isn’t healthy. So take them go-karting, laser tagging (whatrwe 13 years old?!) You know what I mean. Do some sober fun things that won’t impair your minds and remind them of some of that positivity and gusto of life.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance; -Ecclesiastes 3: 2-4
Let Them/Get Them to Vent
Because there’s a time for everything, getting your friend to express how they are really feeling and where they are in the process of grieving is necessary. It’s the beginning to an honest healing process. A process which includes forgiveness (forgiving themselves, God, their loved one for leaving too soon or anyone else), transformation and determination. All of this because one good friend stuck by their side. Go You!
Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”