I’m not sure whether it’s a cultural thing, but I find many of us Indians are very uncomfortable with the grief of others. When someone is grieving the loss of a partner, a parent, a member of their family, a friend, a job or an opportunity even, we must allow them to grieve the way they want to. But no, we will say things like, ‘She wouldn’t want you to cry.’ Or worse still, ‘You’re strong. You’ll get over it.’ Why this discomfort with grief, I wonder.
Grief is as natural to us as is love. We love, we lose, we grieve.
Discomfort With Grief ?
So condoling, comforting and caring for those who are grieving should also come naturally to us.
The best thing we can offer a grieving person is our presence. There’s nothing better than a friend who cares enough to just be by your side when you’re grieving. Offering nothing but presence, a listening ear and non-judgement.
Not rushing to advise. To give solutions. To say that it’s a passing phase.
Let people grieve in peace. Just be there to care.
The human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved. It simply wants to be witnessed — to be seen, heard and companioned exactly as it is.– Parker Palmer
I’m sharing this passage from Winnie The Pooh because it seems so relevant to what I’ve written.
It occurred to Pooh and Piglet that they hadn’t heard from Eeyore for several days, so they put on their hats and coats and trotted across the Hundred Acre Wood to Eeyore’s stick house. Inside the house was Eeyore.
“Hello Eeyore,” said Pooh.
“Hello Pooh. Hello Piglet,” said Eeyore, in a Glum Sounding Voice.
“We just thought we’d check in on you,” said Piglet, “because we hadn’t heard from you, and so we wanted to know if you were okay.”
Eeyore was silent for a moment. “Am I okay?” he asked, eventually. “Well, I don’t know, to be honest. Are any of us really okay? That’s what I ask myself. All I can tell you, Pooh and Piglet, is that right now I feel really rather Sad, and Alone, and Not Much Fun To Be Around At All. Which is why I haven’t bothered you. Because you wouldn’t want to waste your time hanging out with someone who is Sad, and Alone, and Not Much Fun To Be Around At All, would you now.”
Pooh looked and Piglet, and Piglet looked at Pooh, and they both sat down, one on either side of Eeyore in his stick house.
Eeyore looked at them in surprise. “What are you doing?”
“We’re sitting here with you,” said Pooh, “because we are your friends. And true friends don’t care if someone is feeling Sad, or Alone, or Not Much Fun To Be Around At All. True friends are there for you anyway. And so here we are.”
“Oh,” said Eeyore. “Oh.” And the three of them sat there in silence, and while Pooh and Piglet said nothing at all; somehow, almost imperceptibly, Eeyore started to feel a very tiny little bit better.
Because Pooh and Piglet were There. No more; no less.
Linking in to Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday.
Absolutely true. Just being there can be the most comforting.
Pradeep Nair recently posted..Visit to a bank
Thank you, Corinne for talking about grief and, more importantly, referring to the “discomfort” experienced in the presence of grieving individuals. It is so important, especially for us healthcare workers dealing with death. I am convinced we need training on how to break bad news and how does one communicate empathy ? A silent hug and, as you said- being present, sharing in the helplessness that death creates.
I hadn’t thought of how tough it must be for healthcare workers, especially in these times, Evita. With social distancing being ‘present’ for those grieving is a challenge. But I think we all need training in how to show empathy and be present in a non-intrusive manner.
Yes. But it sometimes feels like people don’t get that.
So true and beautifully expressed.
Thank you for stopping by, Patricia. Glad this resonated with you.
Sandra K Stein
Thanks for sharing.
Very nice quote that sums up life and (perhaps death-just witness me go): The human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved. It simply wants to be witnessed — to be seen, heard and companioned exactly as it is. – Parker Palmer
I too was struck by this quote – it doesn’t apply only to grief, but I thought it was relevant here. Thank you for stopping by, Doc.
Corinne Rodrigues recently posted..Finding Purpose
That passage from Winnie the Pooh brought a lump to my throat. And, I realize how blessed I am to have precisely such kind of friends. Offering nothing but our silent company is in fact the best way to be by someone’s side during their grieving. No words are needed then. No advice and no solution are needed when all you do is hold their hand and sit by their side.
Loved the post, Corinne.
This is such a beautiful story and a reminder friends must be here, even in silence and not judging. I feel strongly on what you wrote about Grief and often people tells us, to move on. What is move on? It’s important to let the person grieve and why we give such unwanted, insensitive advice. I find it to be a lack of empathy. Let the people take their time.
Corinne, I love this. So wonderfully spoken. Blessings.
Paula Short recently posted..10 Caring Quotes To Lift You Up
So true Corinne.. I must have said those irresponsible comments many times.. but, its so true..
I couldn’t have said it better, Corrine. I wish I could teach people how to console. I dread taking a call or a visit. People ask for details that make you sadder or ask you to be strong as if there is a pill I can take and suddenly become strong.