Don't feel embarrassed by your grieving
by Dan Langerock
Grieving is something foreign to us as humans. It feels uncomfortable because we are not used to its emotions and the things it makes us feel and do.
But, grief is a normal part of what we feel as humans. Even though it feels uncomfortable to go through it, grief is a way we say goodbye to the ones we have loved. How would it be if we were just the opposite and said, "Oh well, it was nice knowing you!" and walked away when someone we loved died, and never shed a tear or felt sad at their passing.
There are around a dozen steps in the grieving process, and we all go through them in a different way, and perhaps out-of-order. You cannot expect yourself or someone else to turn their grief on and off like a light switch, because each of us is different, and we feel things in diverse ways.
People often feel embarrassed when they are grieving someone's death when I am in the room with them as chaplain. But it is not something to be ashamed of, it is just a part of life. It is absolutely normal to miss someone and to display emotions because of their death. Just as it is normal to be happy when a child is born, it is just as normal to be sad at a person's demise.
Don't disdain someone for how they are displaying their grief, encourage them to let their feelings out. Be supportive, and look for opportunities to help them in their grieving process. Encourage them to talk about how they felt about the person, how they met, or just sit with them in silence for awhile and show you love them with your presence. Don't feel you have to keep the conversation going, there is value in silence also.
Use wisdom in how you respond to them. Remember, they are under a lot of stress now, and will probably respond differently than normal. Make allowances, and look for ways you can help them both emotionally and in the physical sense, perhaps by preparing a meal, going shopping for them or whatever is an apparent need.
Show your compassion for this person in their time of need as you would want to be helped under similar circumstances. Be supportive but not overbearing! Sensitivity to their needs whatever they may be is the key to being a valued and welcome companion during this period of intense emotion. Ask God to help you see the needs behind their words and actions. "A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." (Prov. 17:17)
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