Sometimes we encounter someone in sorrow. Someone who has lost loved ones.
This happens naturally—when parents, for instance, pass away in their turn, old and having said their goodbyes.
This happens unexpectedly—when the young and even children depart.
But in all cases, it's grief. And those around want to help, console, support. But where do you find the right words? What should you do?
I want to share my experience, that of my family and friends, on how to do this delicately and not make things worse. I hope it will be helpful.
I think it's important to begin with what not to say. After my own loss, being a journalist still, I started jotting down in my notebook what I called "comforting words." The ones that immediately come to a comforter's mind but actually don't work:
"I understand your pain!"
You can say that. But only if you've experienced something similar. Then they'll believe you. You can share their shoulder to cry on. Your words will lighten their load.
Recently, my friend lost her father. Parents are meant to leave. But no matter their age, it always hurts, and we're never prepared for their departure. You might think you're very grown-up. You have a family, children; you work and carry yourself maturely.
But it's when your mom and dad leave that you truly become an adult. As I told my kids, "You're now closest to eternity."
You're sandwiched between your children and eternity. Alone. So, I could say to my friend, "I understand you. The world becomes entirely different—without a father..."
I think it's unnecessary to immediately seek out a "positive side." To say "life goes on" is like stating the obvious. Just knowing that you grasp the depth of their loss, that you value it and empathize with them is enough.
Once, my friend's father got sick with cancer. His departure was swift. He was an immense, gigantic, significant father. Abraham. The family's cornerstone. My friend prayed, made promises to God, but her father still passed away. She was numbed for a long time. Many years passed, and I turned to her after seeing my father off. "When does it let go?"
"You know," she said, "after my father's death, an immense black hole formed in my life. We supported each other as best we could—my sister, my mom, and I. We organized evenings in memory of him, published his books. And then the moment came when light began pouring out of that black hole!"
How much I needed to hear those words. A simple promise of light. She already knew the answer to my question.
When my mother passed away, we sang her off in the Church of the Protection of the Mother of God. It was the first day, the funeral, when I didn't cry. I looked at her, and I clearly saw how the warmth of our prayers enveloped her.
My acquaintance, who wept during the service, said, "You acted strangely! It was as if you were smiling!" And I simply saw that my mother was no longer alone; we all gathered around her, and everyone, even her colleagues who weren't religious, big, serious men, prayed in their own ways.
So, here's what I wanted to say about comforting those who've lost their parents. And of course, no one can negate this: with those who weep, weep. Just embrace them and weep.
Original article: https://radiovera.ru/uteshalki.html