Supporting in Grief

It's two am and I am thinking. I'm thinking on grief, distance, mortality, and how I don't know how to deal with any of it. I'm thinking on a woman who wasn't a part of my life, but she was the world to two very important people to me. I'm three thousand miles away and I have nothing to offer. In the years we've been here, not once have I thought about flying back, until now. But I would be just as useless in person as I am over the phone. I have never lost someone; I can't imagine the pain. I can't imagine never seeing someone I love ever again. 

I want to be useful. I want to know the right words to say and how to make it a little easier. The definition of grief is

grief /noun
deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone's death.

Immediately when searching this topic I found two articles that contradicted each other. One said to say and do this and the other said not to do those things. And that's the issue with grief, isn't it? There is no right or wrong thing to say or do. It's dependent on the person, the relationship, and so many other factors that you can't just read a couple articles and think you have the perfect solution to handling a friend's grief. The best thing I found was the statement that "Grief belongs to the griever" and went on to say;

You have a supporting role, not the central role, in your friend’s grief. This may seem like a strange thing to say. So many of the suggestions, advice and “help” given to the griever tells them they should be doing this differently, or feeling differently than they do. Grief is a very personal experience, and belongs entirely to the person experiencing it. You may believe you would do things differently if it had happened to you. We hope you do not get the chance to find out. This grief belongs to your friend: follow his or her lead.
— Megan Devine, via huffington post

Allowing your friend their grief is one of the best pieces of advice I've seen. I'm sure over the rest of my life I will come to experience more death and I hope that I can be kind and supportive friend. For today though, just know that I am still learning and will do anything I can to be there. 

To my beautiful friend
Multiverse
the growing, aching quiet of this home
has led me to reading space theories.
The notions are slowly wrapping around my bones,
settling between my heart and ribcage with intricacy.

When I feel most bereft in this aching grief,
I find soothing in the words of a philosopher.
William James explained the multiverse in brief,
but with the foresight of an astronomer.

He spoke of time as a non-linear vision,
that the universe is not one but many,
a different one spun off every one of our decisions,
therefore the versions of us that exist are plenty.

How comforting to think
that there are so many universes.
Perhaps one where the Titanic did not sink,
one where humanity is kind to the earth, not a curse.

Possible one where magic is real
where faith is rewarded instead of scorned.
And perhaps even one where I do not grieve,
because you are alive and I have no need to mourn.
— Wild Embers by Nikita Gill, page 3
 

star photos taken by Kevin

If you're commenting be kind.

If you've lost someone, what do you want from those around you? If you're the support person, how have you done that?