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How can you help a grieving friend?

The last 6 months, after losing my beautiful mother have been the roughest and there were days I have been in such deep pain that I literally felt my heart aching at moments.

No one or nothing can prepare you to lose your mother.

But I haven't drowned and am still afloat, because the world never stops but instead coaches you to find grace and gratitude in everyday life and also because of my family and my friends who scooped me right up. They stand right by me, holding me, beyond their worries and strength.

While I am grateful for all the beautiful people who have held me as I grieve I have also noticed the ones who moved away – swiftly. I often think about them too. More than I should. But why did they leave me while I walk through the deep dark cave of despair?

Were they afraid to look me in the eye? Did they think death was contagious? I couldn’t find an answer.

Alienating a person in grief is insensitive and inhumane.And I shamefully look back at the number of times I may have been that person in someone else’s life.

Grief is many things and when you meet her around for the second time - you see her better and you even allow grief to help you.

There were a handful of people who in the last 6 months who chose me in ways I am so appreciative of.They are my people and here are some very simple things they did (or did not) that brought me love , hope, space and peace.

1.My people did not ignore me

I am sure each of my people were shocked to watch my world crumble before me and they did not know what to say or do for me.But that did not stop them.

They called until I picked the call, they spammed me with messages and let me know loudly that they are my people.

Tip from my people:Reach out to your grieving family or friend. They will not really remember what you said but they will remember that you tried to reach out.

2.When clueless my people stuck to the basics

When they were unsure of what to say/text, my people stuck to the basics .

Tip from my people: These simple and basic words go a long way -I am so sorry for your loss or I am thinking about you or I love you.

3.My people never said these words to me

Hurtful and horrific sentences like these were never uttered by my people: ”that is life" or "she is in a happier place now" or " move on" or if they have lost a child " don’t worry you can have another one”.

Tip from my people: Think before you speak or better still stay in silence.There is hope in silence too.

4.My people shared fond memories of my mother with me

My people were kind enough to share a memory of my Amma and them. When one person sent me a sweet message about Amma to me I remember I smiled that day after weeks .

Tip from my people: Remember the person your friend has lost and remember them with love for your friend, their entire world is in a haze and helping them remember their loved one will bring them peace.

5.My people gave - unconditionally

My people gave thoughtfully and with a heart full of love. It did not matter if it is was time, gift, flowers, home-cooked meals or just a ‘thinking about you’ text message.

They kept giving until it reached the deep pit of my heart, until I turned around and saw their love.

Tip from my people:Stop asking them what you can do for them, they do not know.Show up and let your love shine.

Grief doesn’t have a destination, doesn’t understand time, and is never a straight road. It is full of darkness and is a constant battle between forgetting and remembering the one you lost. It is a heart full of love and a life full of hope trashed and broken in an instant. Grief teaches you to stay afloat but the big dark vacuum stays and the journey never stops.

It gets easier with time though - they say.

We cannot fix the pain of the one who is in deep grief, but we can embrace it along with them, their mood swings, their queer ways of grieving and their space.

Love them if you can. Even if it is from a distance. That is all they need.

Kindness blunts the sharp edges of grief, just enough to survive.

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