A Note to Those Dropping Off Casseroles

{This week’s series is meant to encourage those walking alongside friends grieving the loss of a loved one. Two and a half years ago our baby was stillborn, and we were deeply touched by those who did the hard work of showing up. Follow along on social media throughout the rest of the week for more encouragement and advice. #MournWithTheMourning}

{This week’s series is meant to encourage those walking alongside friends grieving the loss of a loved one. Two and a half years ago our baby was stillborn, and we were deeply touched by those who did the hard work of showing up. Follow along on social media throughout the rest of the week for more encouragement and advice. #MournWithTheMourning}

To the One Dropping Off Casseroles,

 

You showed up.

Right now as I’m living my own worst nightmare – having lost someone I love – that simple truth means everything to me.

I know coming here to my doorstep wasn’t an easy thing to do. Let’s be honest, you being here while I’m deeply grieving probably feels awkward. Sadness itself is awkward, and for that reason alone I know it would have been easier for you to stay home and avoid having to see me and these tears that can't seem to stop streaming down my face.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re struggling to find the right thing to say. You’re not sure which words will comfort me, and I’m not sure the best way to tell you that nothing you say is capable of doing that anyway. So while you’re trying to find the perfect words, let me quickly tell you that “I don’t know what to say” is so much better than a bunch of empty clichés right now.

You’re my friend and you care about me, and that means that you want me to feel better.

But please, after you give me a hug and before you sit down, take that pressure off yourself. When I lost someone who took up a lot of space in my heart, my heart felt like it was completely torn out of my chest and trampled on. And that’s not something that can be fixed with a few well-intended words. I know you want me to feel happy again, but right now I’m just not okay, and I probably won’t be for a really long time. And that’s okay.

I don’t need you to fix it, and I don’t want you to feel like you’re supposed to try to.

And so, just as I need your friendship to walk with me through this valley, I also need you to trust God to be the one to slowly mend this gaping wound in His timing.

Please don’t tell me that this is all part of His good plans for my life, because right now my pain is too fresh to dwell on how this could be a good thing. Instead, I need you to let Him be the one to reveal how He will turn these ashes into more than what feels like pain and anger and doubt and fear - more than the desire to throw something glass against the wall just so I won’t be the only thing in this room that’s been shattered.

Grief feels clumsy, and I don't know what I'm doing.

I'm not the person I used to be, so you might not recognize me or always know what is best for me. The unfortunate thing is that I won't always recognize me or know what is best for me either. 

I know that I’ll want to be alone sometimes; misery doesn’t always love company. But I’ll also love that text telling me you’re praying for me right now. I know I might not always pick up my phone when you call, but that teary voicemail saying you’re just so sorry for what I’m going through will mean the world to me. I know I’ll need space, but I’ll also need you to help me navigate life from here as I mourn through this death.

If you promise to keep showing up, I promise to be honest about how I'm doing. 

But be patient with me.

Know that even though I’m in great pain, that doesn’t mean my faith is weak. Yes, I’m struggling with doubts. I’ve wrestling with a lot of questions, most of which start with, “Why, Lord? Why?”

But then, do you know what happened? You showed up.

When I cried out for God to show me mercy, to tell me where He is in all of this, you called and eventually knocked on my door. His Body showed up through your hands carrying a 9x13 pan of supper I know I wouldn't have been able to muster the strength to make tonight. 

He showed up through you.

I know that walking this road will test our friendship. I know there might be days that I hide away too much or that you say the wrong thing.

But that’s okay.

Because today, you showed up. And my broken heart is just so thankful.

 

Love,

The One Who is Mourning