Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wondering Wednesday: Mourning with Those Who Mourn

Late in the afternoon I received a text from a ward member. It was news of the most devastating sort as a young man in his prime had lost his life in a tragic accident. His family, friends of mine, were cast into the deep valley of grief.

Later that evening, I knocked on their door and waited for them to open the door. My friend's husband welcomed me inside with red eyes raw from crying. I wrapped my arms around him and we cried together.

I then entered their home, whether the family was sitting silently and patiently, each waiting to receive a blessing from missionaries and a ward member. Friends sat in the room, offering comfort and silent support as we witnessed the blessings. I sat on the bench, in a holy place, mourning with my friends who were mourning.

After the blessings were given, more friends arrived, to sit and comfort, talk quietly, or to sit in silent acceptance. Words were inadequate and at times, we said nothing. I couldn't shake the feeling that the act of sitting together, often in silence, grieving together was an expression of love. Platitudes were not offered, but rather acceptance of the loss and the pain that accompanied it.

In my current responsibility as Relief Society President, I often have the opportunity to be present in those most intimate moments of loss and grief. Sometimes I have a personal connection that I also feel loss. At other times, my grief is for those who mourn. I am learning that holding space and comfort for those walking in that deep valley of grief is a hard thing to do because you have to be fully present and totally sensitive to their needs. Each situation is unique and cannot be navigated with trite sayings. Often words fail us and we resort to actions of love-washing dishes, bringing food, loving embraces, and tears.

What have your experiences been when helping a grieving family? How have you coped with loss? What does it mean to you to mourn with those who mourn?


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