By Rachel Schroeder
Once upon a time, I listened to a generous impulse and ended up feeling a little foolish. I tried to help someone who was grieving, and my help was not exactly the help this person needed, or maybe I didn’t give it in the right way or at the right time…the short version is that it was a little off.
I’ll never forget what it felt like to have my hands full of things that were meant to help, and then to realize that even my full hands were overwhelming to her.
Grief is such a tricky jerk of a thing. You think you’ve got a handle on it and then it just stuns you by showing up at the most unlikely place. You think you know what grief looks like, and then you see it smeared across a room full of people who all express it so differently.
(You think you know how to help someone who is hurting, and then you stand there with your hands full, wishing you hadn’t brought quite so much to the door.)
For a few years after that, I tread so carefully around anyone in grief. I squashed generous ideas that sprang up in my mind, I found less overt ways to express my support; I did whatever I could NOT to overwhelm anyone. But somewhere in that over sensitivity, I was regretting (or pre-regretting) the very good impulses in my heart to help. I lost my way of supporting the people I loved, because I didn’t want to do it wrong.
Recently I’ve been learning to embrace those generous impulses. I’ve realized that even in grief, the love that comes with a gift (even if it’s the wrong gift!) can go a long way. The love that connects us to each other is also part of our healing. My guess is, that at the end of my life, I will be glad I was generous. Every. Single. Time.
I won’t regret kindness. I won’t regret loving gestures that came from a true spirit.
What do you do or say in the face of grief? There’s no right answer, but love NEVER fails..