In April, my hubby and I were walking our dog one afternoon when we came upon our neighbor from a couple of blocks down the street walking her dog. I asked after her husband, who I knew had been sick for a while and she told me he’d passed away a month before. Shocked, I gave her my condolences. She talked about her husband for a few moments. Then I started to share some of my memories of her husband as we walked back to her house. Her smile as I told a particularly humorous event lit her face up. She looked beautiful as we shared in the memory.
About two months later, we walked our dog again and she was sitting outside her home reading a book. After my dog and hers greeted each other, I asked how she had been doing since her husband’s death. She said, “I should be getting over it now.” I froze for a moment and knew in an instant she may have been mimicking someone else’s platitude. It angered me. Her husband had just died TWO months ago. Was it comforting to tell a woman who shared her life with her spouse that she should be over it now?
Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be the last time I’ve heard of people, in the middle of grief, being hurt by well-meaning people. In fact, it would be several more stories over the course of this time that led me to reach out to my returning guest co-host and contributor, Gary Roe. Well acquainted with grief and loss, I wanted him to help understand that in our efforts to give comfort, we need to be so careful of how execute it. In fact, in our well-meaning attempts to help, an certain arrogance may precipitate our words and cause more harm than good.
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