Tag Archives: recovery

10 Things Not to Say to a Grieving Friend

10 Things Not to Say to a Grieving Friend

 

I recently spent the day with dear friends who, like my wife and I, have lost a child. The conversation gravitated to the pain we had experienced, the goodness of God and recovery. But part of the most poignant comments centered around the painful things that people have said to us following the crisis. Some people are well-intentioned, some don’t know any better and some are simply cruel. Regardless of their motives, few people actually know what to say to a grieving person, especially one who has lost a child.

So, while this may seem obvious to some, others need some basic advice. These are things you should not say to someone who has lost a loved one: Yes, I heard all of the things listed below:

Get over it. It’s time to move on and get your life back to normal.

Don’t worry, God will give you another child to replace the one you lost. You could always adopt.

If you had possessed more faith, God would have healed your child.

There must have been hidden sin in your life.

I know what you’re feeling; I lost my grandma, or my cousin, or my dog.

God must have been sparing your child from something worse to come later in life.

God took your child in order to make you a more compassionate person.

You should have prayed harder.

You should have taken your child to a miracle healer.

The reason that all of the above are inappropriate to say to a grieving person is, they are untrue and hurtful. Any attempt to minimize the pain, explain the reason for the loss or make the person feel better is out of place and unappreciated. My experience is, most people who want to fix my pain are trying to play God. They want to understand it all and explain it away. This is ludicrous. These efforts usually resulted in more pain.

So what can you say to a person who is mourning the loss of a child or a loved one?

If you must speak, just say, “I love you” or “I am sorry for your loss” or “I am praying for you.” Many times, it is better to say nothing. Just a hug or a smile will suffice.

When I was standing at the casket of my daughter, a causal acquaintance came up, patted me on the shoulder and handed me a small scrap of paper. On it were the words, Deuteronomy 29:29. This is a Biblical reference that says, “The secret things belong to the Lord.” Those words spoke volumes to me. This was one of those things that only God understood. I am OK with that.

These things belong to God. He understands. Let Him take care of it.

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If (When) You Fail, Don’t Lose Your Composure

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I played high school basketball and was Captain my Senior Year. I also coached two years of high school basketball (going undefeated one season!). One learns a few things about the sport by spending that much time in smelly gyms. Here is a little insight: when a young player takes a shot and misses, there is an increased chance that within the next 5 seconds, he will commit a foul against the other team. Most inexperienced players who take a shot and miss it run straight to whoever gets the rebound and tries to steal the ball, only to be overaggressive and commit a foul. Why does this occur and more importantly, are there applications outside of sports?

I think it’s a matter of losing composure after failure. The kid is frustrated and wants to make up for the missed shot. He’s out to prove he’s a good ball player, so he overcompensates – and ends up fouling. I also think it is losing control of his emotions. The temper forces overreaction – and invariably the whistle blows.

It happens in life all the time. Somebody messes up, and as if things weren’t bad enough, they lose their composure. Bad becomes worse. Some basic coaching could help prevent these multilevel mistakes. I think the real culprit is a lack of maturity. A more seasoned player has learned that when he/she misses a shot, it’s best to go back and play controlled defense. A good coach will train players that it’s ok to miss shots but it’s not ok to make matters worse by fouling.

In life: Not if, but when you blow it – hold on to your composure. Don’t lose control of your emotions. Don’t overcompensate. Sometimes it’s best to fall back and play defense.

You’ll get another chance to take, and make, a shot.


Our Healing is Not Complete Until we Help Heal Another

images-98In my darkest hour, I received more help from a friend who had previously walked the same road that I was currently on. We were now fraternity brothers. And it somehow made me feel better to know that he got it.  He only said a few things, but they stuck – and made a difference. I have used the words he shared to help others.

If you’ve been through some stuff and made it, share it. The wisdom you gained by surviving can benefit the guy who is coming along behind you. It hurts to hurt alone. Reach out to someone who could use a pick-me-up and tell them how you got through it.

Not only will you help them, you will help you. Our healing is not complete until we help heal another.

If you got through it, you just gotta share it. Don’t hesitate to give what you know.

Jesus does that for us. He is close to you if you are hurting, He’s been there. He knows how you feel and can get you through.