A month ago, a good friend of mine who has lost her dad asked me a very personal and deep question.
“Mimi how have you been coping with your mum’s death all these years?
because am really struggling with the death of my dad”.
I went on to tell her some real truths about losing a parent, which most people do not understand until they have lost a parent themselves. I told her the pain will never go away, some days you will be alright, other days you will feel very low.
When I lost my mother and people called to extend their condolences, they really said things I did not want to hear in that moment, but I believe they thought that was the right thing to say. I am not a grieve counsellor but there are some things you should not say to a grieving person.
The common thing most Christians say to a person who has lost someone very close to them, is “it is God’s will” God knows best” “He or she is in a better place” etc. I am a seventh-day Adventist Christian, I believe in the bible, I believe in the resurrection and I believe in the second coming of Christ.
For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17. NIV)
When my mother died, I did not need anyone to remind me of this. All that I needed was people to say to me sorry to hear of your loss, accept my condolences, praying for you and the family. I did not need bible scriptures as words of encouragement. A person grieving in that moment, is questioning God why he has taken their relative and trying to make sense of the situation.
Another common phrase I detest is “time will heal” or “time heal all wounds” no time doesn’t heal when it comes to death. The wounds remain, is just that with time your mind covers them with scar tissue but is never gone.
Time does not heal all things, I mentioned to my friend who asked me the question, there are days you will forget, but some other days, you will miss them so much. Small things trigger a fresh wave of grief, a smell, a look or perhaps a song, and within seconds you are reminded of that person. Personally I miss my mother for so many reasons.
My mother was my prayer warrior, anytime I went to her with an issue, the first thing she will ask me, have prayed about it, and if I said no, she would pray with me there and then. How I wish she was alive to pray for me. My mother gave me some good advice! I do miss her sound godly, common sense advice. Anytime I have childcare issues, I just wish she was alive to help me.
“When a mother dies a daughter grieves, and then her life moves on. She does thankfully, feel happiness again. But the missing her, the wanting her, the wishing she were still here- I will not lie to you, although you probable already know. That part never ends”. – Hope Edelman
Another phrase that people say to a grieving person “if there is anything, I can do please let me know”. Do you think a grieving person, will pick up a phone and call you for a favour? Offer to help in any small way, offer to pick the children from school, cook for them, spend time with them, call to check up on them. And when you visit offer to do something for them, it might be a simple gesture of even tidying up.
When you visit a grieving person, you can just give a hug and say nothing. Some good phrases to say to a grieving person
“I am so sorry for your loss”
“I wish I have the right works; just know I care”
“I don’t know how you feel, but I am here to help in any way I can”
“You and your loved one will be in my thoughts and prayers”
I have come to realise that nothing prepares us for losing someone we love, absolutely nothing. You will never understand until it happens to you.
To anybody reading who has lost a close relative or friend, I say you don’t get over it, you get through it, it doesn’t’ t get better, it gets different.
Grief never ends, is not a weakness, nor a lack of faith, it is the price of love. My only advice to a grieving person, the only way to overcome grieve is to grieve!
By Ellen Mimi Owusu