Shared via Gary Roe – My Dad Died Suddenly| The Grief Toolbox

My dad died suddenly during Spring Break my sophomore year of high school. My family had disintegrated a few years before, and he was my world. I was stunned, and numb.When I arrived for the funeral, the sidewalks on both sides of the funeral home were packed with dozens of my friends. I locked eyes with many of them on the way in. A hand slipped into mine. An arm went around my shoulder. As I emerged after the service, there they were again, lining the sidewalks out into the street. They were everywhere, on all sides.And the whole time, no one said a word.I remember it vividly, almost 40 years later. It still brings a lump to my throat. Some were very close to friends, some just classmates, and some competitors from rival high schools.Honestly, it didn’t matter how close they were to me. They were close that day. They chose to honor my father, and to be with me in my grief.There are people who will stand with us. They feel our suffering. There are no words for such things. In fact, at times words can be a hindrance.Several months ago, I heard of the sudden passing of one of those classmates. I remember her standing there that day, almost of four decades ago. I was again stunned.As my wife curled her arm around my waist, she whispered, “I’m so sorry. What can I do?”What did I answer?“Nothing. Just be with me.”The power of presence is incredible.  Related to this, I have encountered the following “grief truths” over and over again:Grief can be lonely. Our loss is unique. No one else can fully understand.We need the caring presence of others around us. We were made for relationship, and we heal through relationship.We need safe people in whose presence we can grieve – people who accept where we are and bless us with their presence in our dark valley.We would be wise to limit our exposure to those who aren’t helpful to us during this season – people who judge, attempt to fix, or readily give unsolicited advice.The presence of caring, safe people is extraordinarily healing.  As a hospice chaplain, silence is perhaps my greatest ally. When I enter a room full of grieving family, it is a holy moment. Hearts are broken. Souls are vulnerable. There a very few words for such things, and none that can fix.As I am quiet, my heart has a chance to experience their pain and grief. I enter their world. My presence is the most powerful thing I can give.When another gives us the gift of their silent presence, it sends the message, “You are not alone. We’re in this together.”(Adapted from the Good Grief Mini-Course. To sign-up for this free, confidential course, click here).

Source: No One Said a Word | The Grief Toolbox

About Sue Rosenbloom, M.A., C.T.

Thanatologist: Loss and Grief Specialist - My blog is for educational purposes only. I am not a licensed professional counselor - Bachelor of Arts in Human Studies - Marylhurst University (2007)- Certificate in Thanatology - Hood College (2008) Master of Arts in Thanatology - Hood College (2009) Certificate in Thanatology - The-Association for Death Education and Counseling (The highest level of loss and grief education). * Hospice, Alzheimers and Senior's Advocate * Former first responder for Trauma Intervention Program, Inc. (TIP) * Hospice and Bereavement Volunteer for Providence Hospice Bereavement Program * Association for Death Education and Counseling Member * National Alliance for Bereavement of Children * Hood College Thanatology Association * American Group Psychotherapy Association * Marylhurst Gerontolgy Association * Oregon Gerontology Association * Hospice, Loss, Grief and Bereavement Researcher * Creative Writer
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