If you know someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one, or perhaps coming up on the anniversary of a loss, you may be looking for ways to offer them some comfort and solace. Grief can often make people feel alone, distant from everyone, and even distant from God. So how can we bring the love and light of the Lord to those who are grieving?
Having lost her young son in a car crash in 2006, Regina is well-acquainted with grief, but acknowledged there is no one-size-fits-all approach to helping someone who has suffered a loss. She said.”Given that people grieve in all sorts of different ways the answers may be different for different people.”
However, Regina did discuss a few suggestions of how to help someone who is grieving, including:
Go to the Funeral
It’s not always obvious. And I think a lot of time in our culture, for right or wrong, young people are encouraged to go with what you feel and do what you feel. And honestly, when a funeral comes a lot of young people don’t feel like going to the funeral. That’s one of the reasons I’m just like, ‘No, you need to go.’
It’s an honorable thing. It’s a fitting thing. … We are incarnational creatures, and our body needs to go through these physical steps of mourning. So I always say, regardless of how you feel, go to the funeral.
Pray for their soul. I mean, that’s the primary reason we go [to funerals] is because we believe as Catholics that our presence there is not just emotional. We are actually doing a good work. In some ways it is more than bringing a casserole or sending a card. You know, we are going to pray for that person’s soul. The funeral is one way that the community can remember, the community can pray for that person who was a part of their community. We would want people to go to our funeral, we would want other people to offer prayers for our souls, offer Mass for our souls. The very least we can do is offer that for others.
Usually immediately there is a cluster of people who all want to help, but sometimes the grieving person is overwhelmed and they don’t know what to do with all these people who are coming to them. So it’s usually wise to go to the funeral, and then a month later, or two weeks later, when the crowds have died down to reach out. Pick up the phone and say, ‘Hey, how are you doing?’ or send a card and just say, ‘I know you lost your parent. I knew your parent through Knights of Columbus or Legion of Mary and I was always impressed with them. Here’s how they blessed me.’ That can really mean a lot.
Obviously if it’s a personal friend you should totally reach out, right? But even if it’s somebody that you don’t know too well, you just know them from your parish but you don’t have a good friendship with them. It’s still a fitting thing to just let them know that you remember, that you’re kind of still walking through that grieving process with them, and that they’re not alone.
Listen to the full conversation with Regina Doman below: