Tag Archives: death

Helping a Grieving Friend Through Christmas

‘Tis the season for eggnog and grief. Christmastime is here and it can be a grueling and gut-wrenching reminder of the relationship that has ended for someone who has lost a loved one through death or divorce or discord.

empty leather chair, red plaid blanket, next to Christmas tree

Christmas can be especially difficult when someone is missing. Brad W. Smith, photographer

We can’t bring back the dead, restore a marriage or repair a relationship, but we can be a good friend to a friend who is struggling in this joyous holiday.

As a friend, it helps to first of all remember there is no time limit on mourning.

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Filed under Honesty

When We’re Wrong to Accept Ambiguity

In August I wrote a piece called “I Don’t Know.”  about how some people need to always give an answer, even when they clearly have no idea what they’re talking

man who has fallen off the front of a surfboard, two feet protruding upward on either side of the board, body submerged.

Some people hide from the truth, preferring a murky and unsustainable existence while missing the great experiences and view in front of them.

about. Today I address the flip side of that to talk about how some people lock ambiguity in a bear hug and hold on to it for dear life.

They engage in a Gregorian chant of “I don’t know. They claim a need for irrefutable proof in order to accept the truth. They call this certainty, or even closure. For instance, when a terrible event like the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center leaves no reason to believe there are any additional survivors, some family members insisted Herculean efforts be made to find and identify the remains before they would accept that their loved one had died. It is the same with widespread natural disasters, horrific plane crashes, fires, or a building collapse.

Insisting on irrefutable truth gives us the excuse to stay stuck where we are in our grief and pain and anger. We hold on to a shred of imagined uncertainty so that we do not have to move forward. We close the door to what is and stay mired in what was. Continue reading

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Filed under Courage, Openness

Love Messages Lost

In watching others mourn the death of a loved one, I have observed that one of the things they have lost with the death of their loved one is the sensation of being loved and the messages of love that person regularly sent them.

2 men working together to fill 6 bottles of wine from the barrel

Whether we’re working or just goofing off, spending the time together with someone who cares gives us the clear message that we are loved and valued.

Those messages can be anything from “I love you” to life-affirming words of encouragement and support. Even the so-called little things that people do for one another like take them coffee in the morning or pick them up from work are forms of love messages. So they are not only mourning the death and all the obvious losses that go with it, they are mourning these losses while at the same time they have an immediate deficit of affirmations of love, support and encouragement.

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Filed under Truth