“Okay, so hear me out. We all have different relationships with our parents, right? Some of us have great relationships with them. Some of us have no relationships with them. Some of us have toxic relationships with them…and some of us have lost a parent or have no parents at all.
We all have different types of relationships which can make it hard to truly relate to one another at times.
When I speak out loud about losing my mom, I feel nervous because I know the overall topic of ‘loss’ makes many uncomfortable. They would rather only have positive things to think about. Which I get. But loss is real. We can’t go throughout life ignoring that loss happens and life is fragile.
Where am I going with this, you ask?
When I talk about losing my mom, which is rare if I even talk about it these days, it get the least engagement. Which is fine. I don’t expect or require people to engage. I love it when you do, but I don’t expect it. What I’m saying here is I notice patterns in life and this has always been one.
90% of those who respond are only others who have lost parents as well.
Again…Krista…get to the darn point here!
OKAY. So what I gather is sometimes people who can’t relate are scared to speak as they don’t want to say the wrong thing…this was a trend after my mom’s funeral.
So I am going to be the pioneer lady to help you with this in the future when you have friends who experience loss of any kind. Okay?
1) Saying nothing at all is worse than saying the wrong thing to someone who is grieving. Say something, anything.
2) You don’t even have to speak words. Just be there. Proximity and showing up is a form of communicating love too, my friends.
3) If you do say something, things that helped me went along the lines of…
‘You are so strong.’
‘I can’t imagine how it feels, just know I’m here for you.’
‘This sucks. I can’t relate, but just know your feelings are valid and it sucks.’
4) Not sure what to say or how to be there? FOOD! Things of comfort or gift cards for quick meals when they are too overwhelmed to cook go a long way.
There are many ways you can be there for someone who is going through loss. Quite honestly, I feel uncomfortable speaking on it in general because I notice it’s a quiet topic. So, I second guess what I’ve said and think I said things that made people uncomfortable.
But the truth is, I know the value in speaking it out loud as…losing a parent or loved one is one of the hardest curveballs life can throw you. It’s lonely. It helps to hear others who have been through it.
It’s like the quote, ‘You are writing the survival guide for someone else,’ and even if it only helps one person, it’s worth it. Speaking on how to help someone going through it…is also a valuable topic.
Just know if you are in someone’s life who is experiencing loss of any kind, try to show up in some way. If words are hard or make you nervous to speak, just be there. Communication and showing love go beyond speaking. Remember that. That’s part of why I became a speech pathologist. Because one time a professor in my intro course said, ‘Communication isn’t just words, it’s showing love in various ways that don’t involve actually speaking.’”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Krista Lynn Tracey. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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