1) Death makes people uncomfortable. Most of the time we have no idea what to say. We say things just to be nice or just to say something. I caution that most of the time, empty words are better left unsaid. Saying "i love you and im here" is a lot better than trying to come up with "something" to say just to be nice or in an attempt to make the person "feel" better. . Its ok to not have "the" words to say because NOTHING said, will make things better or change anything. Your love and your availability is the best you can do in a situation that NO ONE has any control over. It is not your job to fix it nor it is your job to make it better. Be there and love them. Hold them up or ALLOW them fall apart if that is what they need, but whatever you do, take YOUR comfort and YOUR wants around the situation and put them aside. Pay attention to their wants and needs. The grieving person's state of being is what is most important at this time. And that don't have nothing to do with your comfort.
2) Death is sobering. I mean there is no coming back from it. It is so finite, at least in the physical. I do have a belief that my loved ones are still with me very much in the spirit and very much available to me. But i struggle, like anyone else, with the reality of their physical presence no longer being here. Sometimes i listen to my friend speak of her partner and i can hear the place between knowing she is gone, accepting that she is gone, and still longing for her presence. There is something about being physically present that is all the difference. While we have the opportunity, we must practice presence. Not only to others but to ourselves. We spend so much time being every where but in the present moment or present to the situation or current place we are in. If you are at work-be fully there. If you are with your family or hanging with friends, be fully there. Presence is a gift that is priceless and irreplaceable. When the physical presence of a loved one is absent, it is the kind of reality that is unexplainable. It can be a wake up call to the importance of being present to the moment and the gift of life and certainty of death.
3) Grief does not look the same for everyone. My mom was telling me about a friend of hers whose mother just passed away. She said that her friend is going to her niece to take care care of her because the niece is taking it hard. Its hard to understand why someone who has lost their mother would be more concerned with other people. But there is no hierarchy of pain and there is no right way to grieve. Some of us take comfort in being there for others. Some of us only deal with what we can mentally handle. Though i regret this, i loss someone very important to me a few months ago that i did not spend a lot of time with up to her death. I regret doing that with all my heart, but i couldn't handle dealing with not having her in my life. I think that i quietly and in the back of my mind began to prepare for her absence by being absent. I look back on that decision with sadness and regret, but i take from it the wider lesson of pushing through and past certain feelings to get the bigger picture. It was a hard lesson that i wish i didn't have to learn, but im grateful for it and will move forward accordingly. With that being said, the same can be said of supporting those going through loss and grief. We make the mistake of expecting people to be like us way too much. Pay attention to their needs and meet those needs, not your expectation of what is needed, right, or what you think they should be feeling/doing. I know this is hard, but that is how you TRULY be support.
4) Moving from presence to full acceptance of absence on any level is hard and shows up in different ways. Do not rush yourself or others to accept the absence of someone they love, be it a break up, end of a friend ship, death, or separation from a child. Remember i said before presence is priceless. When someone is no longer with you, getting use to that absence is hard and each day is different, harder, easier, weird;the process of trying on ones emotions and sense of normalcy. When someone has made an impact on your life, when you have loved someone and been in deep relationship with them, their absence is voided. There are healthy ways to deal with the void and to fill it if need be. But do not push trough the process with haste. Deal with it until you are truly at peace-however long it takes.
--I'd like to say to the grieving: Grief counseling is a blessing. Journaling is and has been many of peoples saving grace. The shoulder of a friend, the spirit of God(or not for that matter), and physical movement are all ways to cope, deal, and transition through loss. Be at one with the lessons you learn from your mistakes, your impulses, and your hearts desire. Take care of yourself the best you can. It aint easy, but I encourage you to allow yourself to grieve. It is life's greatest teacher and it is truly a part of life that we must all encounter. If you can bear it push through the process in whatever way you can. No shame, no recipe/outline, just one day at a time.
--And I say to the loved ones of the grieving: Grief is a part of life with it's own lessons, cycle, shifts, and levels. I know it's hard to watch someone you love hurt and be in pain. I know it's hard to at times feel helpless, but simply, it is much more about the person grieving. Be honest with yourself and you ability to really support someone that is going through a loss. If you can not handle the level of pain someone else is experiencing, i think it's best to either admit that, or gain some tools, like of the one's I've mentioned on how to do that. Either way, make sure it's something you can really do. There is no shame either way-only love.
Love, light, and balance
Co-create, Love, Educate, Affirm, Reconcile-CLEAR Understandings.