It was a hot, sunny July day in Iowa, and I was disappointed that my best friend was on vacation. It was no fun going to the pool without her, so I decided to stay home that day. Our little town didn’t have a public pool yet, so our town made arrangements that summer for one of our school buses to drive children to a nearby town to use their pool.
As I was lying on the couch reading my favorite book, the knock on the door brought my Aunt and cousin racing into the house. They both suffocated me with hugs and kisses, and through their excitement to see me, my mom and I gradually got the story that the bus going to the next town that morning to the pool had gone over a bridge into the creek. They were afraid to call my mom and frighten her because they assumed I would be on the bus as usual, so thought it better to deliver the news to her personally. The trauma and grief spread through our small town, and we had three funerals that summer. It was the summer of my 12th year, and a classmate who died had been looking forward to junior high as much as I was. He was also in my Sunday School class and my mom’s last memory of him, which she shared with his mother, was something I believe was a great comfort to her. My mom said Robbie often came to her to recite Bible verses he had been memorizing. And one of the Bible lessons that summer included children getting to participate in the story using stick figures. Robbie had been very excited to get to play the part of Jesus.
When we know someone who is going through a traumatic loss, sometimes your uncertainty and fear on what to say may keep you away from trying to comfort those in pain. Robbie’s mom shared later with my mom that people seemed afraid to talk to her. What she needed desperately was to be able to talk to them. You don’t need magical answers and say things like “it was the Lord’s will”, or “He must have wanted him to be in heaven”. All you need to help someone who has lost a loved one is your time, your compassion, and your undivided attention to just let them talk. I heard one mother who lost her son ended up going to another town’s pastor because she couldn’t find anyone she could open up to.
The grief process can be a long and painful time. But it shouldn’t be a time of aloneness, and our grieving brothers and sisters in Christ should never feel isolated in their pain. Reach out beyond your fears of saying the wrong thing and hug, cry with, and listen to those who grieve.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Luke 12:7 “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Ecclesiastes 3 “A time to”
2 Corinthians 1:6 “Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer.”
May God bless these words as I strive to edify and encourage others in their walk with Christ. Married 20 years, I have a teenage son, and two wonderful golden retriever/collie dogs. I am also a contributing staff writer to www.HeartFriendz.com – an awesome website just for women! Nancy Quinn