While attending a funeral visitation (wake), have you ever heard or maybe even said to the griever, “Call me if you need anything”? Heck, maybe you have been on the receiving end of that line.
There is no doubt in my mind that the comment is sincere, and some people who are actually eager to do something. Besides, many times we struggle with what to say to the griever. On the other hand, many inside the griever’s inner circle are the people most likely to be receiving the call of help.
Here is a suggestion on a way anyone can help. Since as outsiders we know and respect the griever well enough to attend. With that in mind, call them at least 3 weeks later. Then call them a month or two after that. Sure, you can offer assistance, but more importantly, the call will catch them by surprise, they will appreciate the contact, and it gives them a chance to talk. Here is an example.
We met Kathy and her family in the late 70s at the church we joined. Ten years later, the church moved west and we moved east, thus our lives separated. Then about four years ago, Kathy appeared at our current church.
We discovered the changes in her life as the kids were grown and gone, her divorce from the husband we knew, her current marriage, places that she had lived outside of Cincinnati, and that her current husband was fighting cancer,
He died this past summer. I attended the visitation and the embrace I received not only surprised me, it told me that she appreciated my visit.
Several months later during an evening my wife was at a meeting, I wonder how Kathy is doing popped into my mine, so I called her. Over the next two hours we talked about her support system, the way people respected her husband, people at our the old church where we met, and life with her previous husband – and I learned he died 7-8 years ago.
Although the length of time we talked surprised me, I know I used those 2 hours well and that she appreciated them. Although I have called other grievers in the past, this call truly demonstrated to me that it an important thing to do – thus, something for you to keep in mind.