5 Unexpected Ways to Share Your Grief with Friends
If you have ever walked through a season of grief, then you know just how overwhelming it can feel. Our emotions are often close to the surface and viciously shifting during this time. One minute we seem to be able to keep it together and the next a memory rises to the surface that sends us into a perplexing spiral of tears and loss. There is hope for us in our deepest and most consuming grief.
If you have ever walked through a season of grief, then you know just how overwhelming it can feel. Our emotions are often close to the surface and viciously shifting during this time. One minute we seem to be able to keep it together and the next a memory rises to the surface that sends us into a perplexing spiral of tears and loss.
We not only grapple with our emotions, we often forget how to understand our own bodies and physical needs. We can feel depleted, exhausted, withdrawn, and find ourselves craving solitude, while we also simultaneously feel lonely and abandoned. We don’t eat or sleep well and even the most basic and mundane tasks can feel like too much of a burden to take on.
Life seems to move in a haze and we feel like we’re standing on the outside, not quite understanding how the world just keeps moving on when our own life feels like it has been turned upside down.
Have you been there, utterly overwhelmed by loss? Maybe you’re there right now.
I know I have been, several times.
There is hope for us in our deepest and most consuming grief.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Ryan Jacobson
You Don't Have to Grieve Alone
We know that as believers, we do not walk through anything alone. Our Father God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit surround us, intercede for us, strengthen us, hold us, and comfort us. The trinity is our steadfast, immovable, and unconquerable hope. Our triune God walks through our deepest and darkest valleys, providing our ultimate support and care. That is a given in the life of every believer.
However, sometimes in our grieving, we need someone to walk with us who can be seen and touched. We need a physical person to be there for us, and that is ok. There is no shame in that, friend. It doesn’t make us less of a Christian, nor does it mean that our faith is not strong. It simply means that we want our triune Father to work through some actual flesh and blood people to provide in-real-life comfort in a time of desperate need.
We were created to be in deep community with the trinity, but we were also created to be in community with other people. If you are in the throes of grief, you don’t have to be there alone. Invite others into your grief with you. Those safe and trusted friends that God has brought into your life can be just what you need during your darkest hours.
In the last several years, I have lost two grandmothers, a grandfather, and my dad. Allowing my friends to be with me in my grief drew us closer, created a new depth in our relationships, helped me to process the pain and loss I was feeling, kept me from feeling alone, and made me profoundly grateful for the relationships that I do have. They were a gift in my grief.
However, our friends can only share our grief with us if we allow them to. We have to be willing to invite them in to this space with us and let them know what we need. If you don’t want to walk through your grief alone, here are five ways you might not have expected to share your grief with your friends.
5 Unexpected Ways to Share Your Grief with Friends
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1: Ask a friend to just sit with you, even if it is in silence.
People don’t always know what to say or how to say what is on their heart, but they often want to be there for us. Invite a friend to just be with you. Let them know they don’t have to do anything but be present.
When my dad passed away, I had a dear friend who just came and sat with me for hours. She didn’t do anything but just gave me the gift of knowing she was near, and it meant the world to me.
2: Invite a friend to just listen as you verbally process, without judgement or even feedback.
Our emotions are all over the map when we are grieving. We feel the full range, from guilt to despair to anger to hope. Let your friend know that you need a safe space to pour out your feelings, without judgement or feedback.
After losing my Grammy a year ago, a dear friend offered to just listen over the phone while I verbally processed through all of my feelings. At first, I was a little uncomfortable talking through all of the mixed emotions that were flooding me, but as I talked, I felt such relief at just being able to process the feelings I was having.
3: Choose a cathartic task, and ask friend to join you.
We know the things that normally bring life to our souls. For some it is baking, going for a walk or a hike, listening to music, gardening, cleaning, creating, doing manual labor, or sitting outside in the sunshine. Ask your friend to join you and to just do the task alongside of you.
After losing my dad, my family got together for a baking day. We spent the day baking Christmas cookies. There were a lot of tears, but just doing a task that we enjoyed alongside one another was cathartic and refreshing.
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4: Ask a friend to pray over you in your darkest hour.
There is so much power in prayer. Let your friend know that you are struggling and ask her to lift you in prayer. Give her specific needs if you have them, and if not, just rest in the peace that your friend is covering you and setting you at the throne of Heaven.
A dear friend often texted me prayers that she was praying over me after my Grammy passed. When I didn’t have a lot of words, it was healing for me to be able to just read these prayers back to God.
5: Give a friend permission to meet some of your physical needs.
No one likes to ask for help, but when we are grieving it can be difficult to focus on even our most basic physical needs. Allow a friend to cook you a meal, clean your house, help with your kids, or do your laundry. It is vulnerable, but it is not weak to ask for help.
When my grandpa passed, a family fiend offered to take my boys to their farm for a weekend. It gave my kids a chance to breathe in their grief while allowing me space to process and grieve in my own way.
Grief can be overwhelming. It threatens to consume us when we are in the depths of it, and while we totally rely on the hope, power, love, grace, and mercy that our triune God gives in abundance, it is ok to need in-real-life, flesh and blood people to be there for us in our darkest hours as well.
Invite your friends into your grief with you. Be vulnerable enough to ask them to share this sacred space with you. Give them practical and meaningful ways to be present and to ease the loss that you are feeling. Don’t walk through your grief alone.
Bobbie Schaeperkoetteris a writer, speaker, community builder, and an encourager of women at http://www.bobbieschae.com. She’s doing her best to honor God in the craziness of everyday life and she’d love to walk alongside you as you do the same. You can connect with Bobbie through her website or on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/bobbieschae or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bobbieschae
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