I know how awkward it can feel when someone has lost a loved one. How do you talk to them? Should your conversation only be somber? Should you even talk about ‘normal’ things? Will that just upset them? Or will it upset them to talk about what has just happened and how they’re feeling?
I cannot speak for everyone who is bereaved, though I suspect my feelings are not unique. So here it is.
Ask me about my Dad.
I want to talk about him.
I want to talk about what has just happened, the whirlwind of events as he received news that it was now a matter of days rather than months. I want to tell you about all the things he said (and I quickly scribbled down) as he faced eternity. I want to tell you about his humour, his passions, his sense of his own weakness and Christ’s greatness. I want to tell you of the words he managed to get out when words were few.
Ask me about my Dad.
You can’t suddenly remind me of the pain. Yes, it ebbs and flows, but it doesn’t disappear. You won’t suddenly cause me pain. It’s there. And in fact you may soothe it as we thank God together for the good, for the grace, for his work in and through Dad, and for the joy of eternity with Him.
And if you knew him, I may ask you about my Dad! I want to hear your stories. How did he impact you? How did he make you laugh? How did he inspire you? Even, how did you disagree with him?! (it’s ok!)
So let me ask you about my Dad.
And I’ll ask about your week.
I want to hear about your day, your week – however mundane, or perhaps event-filled, it’s been! I know the world carries on revolving (though this is often a hard realisation for the bereaved) and I know ‘to live is Christ’ and that’s what we must do, while we wait to ‘gain’ when we join our lost loved ones who are safe with Jesus.
Yes, it may be awkward at times. Who knows how I’ll be feeling in that moment. I might be full of laughter, delighting in old (or even fresher) memories. I might be full of tears, suddenly feeling the pang of loss. I may be struggling to get my head around what’s just happened (is he really gone?) I may be full of musings about eternity.
So you may need to sit a while. You may have to endure long pauses as the words struggle past the tears. You may be surprised as to where the conversation ends up.
But ask me about my Dad.