Sometimes . . . bad things happen to people.
A bad diagnosis.
The death of someone close.
Life's hardest challenges rain down sometimes.
This week, Carole (who needs our support right now, by the way) asks us about Ten Things to Do to be Supportive When Someone Dies. I'm going to extend that sentiment a bit . . . to Ten Things to Do to be Supportive When Someone is Going Through Hell (no matter what the Hell happens to be).
- Be there. Yes. It's uncomfortable to reach out and talk to someone who is going through hell. It might even be a little scary. Do it anyway. Be there.
- Think. . . about how YOU might feel in the same hellish situation. What would YOU want? How would you wish your friends would treat you? Then do that.
- Check in. Ask how they're doing. Ask what they might need. Ask if they need to talk. Ask if they want to share a bottle of wine. And keep checking in. (Because once isn't enough.)
- Listen. Let them talk. Let them ramble. Let them cry. Ask them if they'd like to share their story. (Bring the Kleenex.)
- Go outside YOURSELF. Because, y'know . . . it's not about YOU right now.
- Don't just offer help; HELP. It sounds supportive and all . . . if you say, "Let me know if I can do something." But that's Not Helpful. (Not really.) Because that's just putting the ball in the suffering-person's court. Instead . . . HELP. DO something. Call . . . and say, "I'm at the grocery store right now; what can I bring you?" Don't wait for a request; just . . . help.
- Stay in touch. Call. Send personal notes. Write emails. Visit. Bring wine. And stay in touch for the long haul.
- Bring food. (Preferably in containers that don't need to be returned.) Because people need to eat. And food prep is hard when you're in pain.
- Remember . . . that grief and shock and pain . . . are different for everyone. No judgement. Just support. We each follow our own path when it comes to grief and "dealing with it." Understand that, and honor someone else's journey.
- Share your memories and hopes for tomorrow. Because it's important to remember a shared past -- and to look toward a brighter future.
This topic is not the cheeriest . . . but life (and, sadly, death) happens to all of us . . . and it's best we support each other through even the darkest nights.