Grief Witnessed

A few weeks back, I had to drop off some documents at a local business. The woman who took the papers from me talked briefly, and then tears rolled down her cheeks. She said,

“Jon would walk in and come back to my desk. He was always so friendly, and we would just talk for awhile. I just realized he isn’t going to do that anymore.”

She then apologized because I began to weep as well.

I walked away from that conversation, months after Jon’s death, feeling grateful and encouraged. I thought about that woman several times during the day and the simple stories she shared.

Please know you can’t “make” the grieving person cry. Even though we are going about our business, we are still mourning.

We are crying on the inside.

When someone talks about our lost loved ones, it does not suddenly bring them to our mind.

They are there. Always.

When someone shares stories or talks about our loved ones, we are comforted. It lets us know we do not grieve alone.

Our grief is witnessed.

In his book, Finding Meaning, David Kessler writes,

“In indigenous villages of Australia, on the night that someone dies, everyone in the village moves a piece of furniture or something else into their yard. The next day, when the bereaved family wakes up and looks outside, they see that everything has changed since their loved one died — not just for them but for everyone. That’s how these communities witness, and mirror, grief. They are showing in a tangible way that someone’s death matters. The loss is made visible. Everything has changed.”

Grief witnessed. Yes. That is one thing those who mourn are longing for… someone, anyone who will just continue to witness our grief.

Because…. everything has changed.

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