Saturday, August 25, 2012

When a loved One…

            I’m in the trauma, crime, and dead business.  What do I know about what to do with a grieved loved one?  A bit.
            What not to do.  The person you’re about to help has just had the rug pulled out from under their feet.  They do not need platitudes like, ‘God is with them now’ or ‘They’re in a better place’, as if the person you are trying to console is reeling with anxiety that the person they just lost is going to hell.  I know that sounds harsh, but the last thing I ever wanted to hear was something about their pain being over.  I know it is.  They’re dead.  I am still here.
Whatever you do, please save your grief for the church.  They have enough to deal with, thank you.  It’s not the best idea to ask them to come out.  That is inviting a depressed person to drive somewhere.
            What you can do.  Do something, anything, like a car wash to helping clean up a kitchen or rearrange a room.  If it was a husband lost and now an old widower is left, clean the yard thoroughly. 
After my father died, we completely cleaned out my mother’s room.  Every family member helped me.  My mother was so delighted about it. I will never forget it.  
Call them, ask if they are home, and go to them.  Perhaps they would like to get out.  Okay, take them anywhere.  Let them indulge in some window-shopping, flower smelling, or puppy watching.

            For some time after, they may need help selling things they don’t need like tools, camera equipment, or a car that someone said was a priceless classic and is not really.  I have one of those.  Although it is precious to me, like some old photo equipment I still own, it is just not worth as much as it used to be to keep and talk about. 
Of course, someone is going to say that his or her loved one never bought junk.  No, at the time it may not have been, but I just overheard a conversation where someone possessed a very expensive dark room enlarger.  At one time, that machine cost up to many thousands of dollars.  They are all paperweights now. Follow-up can take years.
Keep your grieving loved one busy.  There is nothing like a hobby or meeting new people to work off the grief.  Give them a taste of the freedom their loved one would have wanted for them.

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