Supporting a Griever

I am here with you.”

When you have a friend or family member that has suffered an expected or unexpected loss it can be very hard to know what to say. Oftentimes because it is so hard, we say nothing.

We may even avoid the person altogether. To the griever this is an additional cause of pain and confusion when friends stay silent and remain distant.

So what can you say? What can you do when a friend is grieving and his heart is broken?

Consider this significant quote by Henri Nouwen, a Catholic priest, “The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares.”

Oftentimes what you need to say is very little beside “I am here with you.” And there is very little to do besides doing just that – sitting with the griever in silence or in conversation – – – as she wishes.

Also consider that a griever’s heartache can be a painful mirror of our own unresolved grief. I believe this is why we find it oftentimes easier to stay silent.