When the article about my story came out this week. The reporter stated “She said her support system dropped off months after Kevin died. Friends stopped communicating with her and later told her they didn’t know what to say or do.” While I was fortunate to have amazing family and a few key friends who stuck with me through thick and thin (I hope you know who you are) some just weren’t there. I received a sympathy card and maybe one or two phone calls. That was it. To me, I needed friends calling weekly to check in on me. I needed them to take me out to dinner. I needed them to let me talk about it if I wanted to, or to not if I didn’t.
There are many articles and advice columns floating around about what friends and family should do or say to a friend or family member who is grieving. It is a difficult position. Not everyone has the same approach. Everyone receives sympathy differently. But one thing that keeps coming up in discussions is the issue of crying.
I am here to tell you that crying won’t kill anyone.
If you are worried that if you talk about my late spouse, I may cry. You won’t die if this happens.
You may be worried that I may get upset at “no reason” (false statement here) and cry “at the drop of a hat”. Again, this reaction will not kill you.
You may be worried that when these things happen that you won’t be able to make me stop crying, that you won’t be able to fix what is wrong, that you will have nothing to say. This is all O.K.
Crying can be awkward. Here’s the thing with crying though, it’s a release. We feel comfortable enough to do it around YOU. While you may not see it as such, this is an honor. Crying does not mean it is the perfect opportunity to fix something. You can’t fix dead.
You cannot fix dead.
You cannot take away my pain with any words.
What you can do it stick with me through the tears, however awkward it may be.
You can call me the next day to make say hello and that you were thinking of me. Skip the “Are you OK?” part.
You can hug me.
You can continue to be there.
None of this will kill you.