‘When we talk about our pain, we alleviate it’. (Pier Korneill).
I hadn’t heard from 2 friends of mine for about a month. These friends do make a very happy married couple blessed with 2 wonderful boy kids, aged 5 and 2,5. Before a few months L. gave birth of a very beautiful girl. So, I called to ask them if they were in so as to go and see them. I first talked with G who told me to go in a very friendly way, as usual. 10 minutes after talking with G., L. called me telling me she would love to see my face at their door, yet she wanted to let me know that something very bad had happened. As soon as I asked what the thing was, she told me that their baby girl died a few days ago from sudden infant death syndrome…. I was shocked…I couldn’t say anything more than ‘I’m sorry…so sorry, I’ll come to see you tomorrow’.
I was socked. As soon as we hung up I started wondering why. Why such a thing happened to a 3 month old baby? Why such a thing happened to a happy couple like my friends? Much as I wanted to go and stand by them, I was feeling awkward as I didn’t know what to say to them. Of course I went to their house the next day, and as soon as I saw them I realise that the best thing I could do for them is to be present. Just present. I needn’t have felt awkward as they made it very easy for me. As soon as I gave them a hug, we started talking about it and I realised that all I had to do was to give them the space to speak up, and of course to listen. I was amazed to see how open they were to discuss about the incident, to share their feelings of grief and devastation. I acknowledged them for being that brave and open. I thought how good the fact that they had two absolutely cute boys and one another is.
Many times when it comes to loss and grief many people shrink away feeling awkward or uncertain of what to say or do. However, do people dealing with a grief, need to hear consoling words or advices like life goes on, or time heals everything etc? In my own experience, I would say that most of the times people need the space to talk as well as they need to be heard. Likewise, most of the times, we need just to be physically and mentally present and just listen to them. Listening with your heart and not saying anything consoling doesn’t make you helpless at all. As Jorge Bucay says ‘everyone deals with their loss and grief in their own unique way’.
The above story took place a few months ago. Last week I had a night out with my friends G, and L. and I has happy to see them in a quite better place. When I asked them how they are L. told me ‘none of us is the same person after what we went through, yet we‘re moving forward in our own pace’.
I would like to thank my friends for giving me their permission to write and publish this post, and find out what’s your opinion on providing a good or the best support for people dealing with grief and/or loss.