RECENT events in Manchester were both shocking in the light of the lives which were lost and surprising in the light of the incredible response of support.
This support came from a wide array of members of the community regardless of race, religion, gender, sexuality or social status.
Yet, if we are honest about it, the community response was not as surprising as we might initially think.
The fact is most of us would have responded in a similar way.
When we discover a member of our family, or friend, or work colleague or neighbour has lost a loved one, our instinctive response is one of wanting to support.
Ideally, we want to be a shelter in a storm at these times.
Unfortunately, because most of us are not equipped to respond, our attempts to give support can end up a lot clumsier than we might like them to be.
Here are a few examples of ‘words of comfort’ to avoid which we have either given or been on the receiving end;
‘It was God’s will’
‘You’ve got to be strong’
‘I know how you feel’
‘They were getting on’
‘At least, they are in a better place now.’
Grief is an intense, emotional and physical reaction that follows the death of a loved one.
It is unique. It involves both loss and change.
Furthermore, grief is not an illness with an obvious cure.
Nevertheless, there are ways in which we can provide the best support;
Give them space
Resist the urge to fix
Offer practical support
Avoid telling them what to do
Allow them to express their pain
Remember important dates
Send a card of sympathy
Being a shelter in a storm is a worthy goal to aim for.
By combining a little bit of thought and sensitivity we may surprise ourselves with how supportive we can be.