Before we move on to our next “what to say when” topic there was one really important and helpful piece of advice we wanted to share from our other cousin, Suzy. Her brother Reed unexpectedly passed away a few years ago. He was and truly continues to be an example of persistence and positivity to all who knew him. Here Suzy shares an aspect of grieving that you really wouldn’t think of unless you are going through it.
One of the biggest things for me after losing Reed was that I often just wanted someone around, not necessarily to talk about it but just to be there. The week between when he died and the funeral there were always people around, but as soon as the funeral was over everyone disappeared and it was really quite lonely. I had friends tell me later that they didn’t want to be near me because they didn’t know what to say, when really I didn’t need them to say anything, I just needed them to be there.
I remember walking into the mall to buy a dress foe the funeral and feeling so overwhelmed it was almost debilitating. I ended up not being able to find anything and going home. I ended up calling a few friends to help me shop and the only one who responded was a girl in my ward who had lost her mom to cancer a few years before. I don’t remember specifically talking about anything but just her being there was such a help to me.
I think for me, the biggest thing I needed to hear from people is that they were there for me and then to have them actually follow thru with that. While so much of grieving is a solitary process, it’s nice to have a support group to go do something with to distract you from everything.
Even a few months after everything happened I felt like I was barely keeping my head above water. Because my family was grieving too I didn’t feel like I could talk to them and add my burden to theirs. I honestly had to rely on the Savior in a way I never had before. While it was the hardest experience of my life to that point, it’s also the point that I really learned to rely on the Savior and I really discovered who I was.