It can be surprising – people we look to for support just aren’t there for us. Or they are there for us, but in a way that is unhelpful. Sometimes our friends and family just don’t have the capacity to hold space for us. It can be necessary to rewrite your contact list.

I hear stories often, (not always) but often about how someone’s best friend is not returning calls, or hasn’t acknowledged the death of their person. Or I have heard how our well meaning people – people who love us – expect us to grieve in a way that they expect us to. If you make someone uncomfortable by expressing emotion, they might not be able to handle it.

I have heard stories about people suggesting that you just have to put on “your big girl panties” and get back to work, or we just need to find you a husband. I have heard of family members suggesting that it was inevitable – this tragedy – was inevitable, and so we must not feel our unbearable pain.

So many stories. Today though, I would like to share stories of hope. Who is on your team? We grieve well when we grieve in community. It is important for us to be mindful of the people who support us. Support us in big ways and in small ways.

The man who just comes over and mows the lawn without asking. Or the person who can sit with you in silence and just be with you. Do you have that one person you can call and ask to come over? Or the person who will walk with you? I love that meme on Facebook about the person who just buys groceries.

Who is on your team?

Are there people who will invite you to dinner and then understand if you leave early, or not come at all? Are there people who will keep asking you to dinner anyways, even if..? Can you participate in your hobby circle and bring your grief with you? Is there room to share?

Who are the people who remember with you? Can you sit and tell stories and cry and laugh together? Who will look at pictures with you, or watch videos with you?

Who is your go to when you need to distract. (We can’t grieve all the time.) Who watches movies with you, or takes you shopping, or even to the pub for a beer. Who helps you fix the car?

We need to build a team when we grieve. We need to be mindful of what our needs are and who can help us with them. And again, sometimes it isn’t the people we think it will be. That’s okay and more common than you think.

Above all else, be your own best friend.

Be gentle.

Denise Torgerson
Community Programs