Show up, be present for a friend in their time of need
Have you had times when you are grieving or going through a tough time but you do not want to hear any of those clever encouraging quotes or wise words of encouragement? Sometimes you just need someone to be there with you…. as in show up, be present.
Sometimes the way to support and encourage someone is to just be there, you do not need to offer any advice or fix the problem or do anything in particular. Sometimes all the person needs for you to do as a friend or loved one is sit there in the silence with them or hug them, your presence is an acknowledgement of what they are going through and confirmation of your support and reassurance.
At times the encouraging words and quotes are empty and meaningless because the person cannot even hear you in their current state of mind or has been in that situation for long and has heard it all.
So how about if you were just present and you went with the flow or followed their lead instead of trying to come up with what to say to them. In this regard I am reminded of a story…. A while back, my friend Dee went to visit one of his friends who was hospitalized due to a blood clot somewhere in her leg and needed surgery to have it removed, she was also pregnant………… which I think made her more worried. She was very scared and worried she may die (most stories we hear about blood clots in the body are not good). When he got to her hospital room, this lady just burst into tears and cried uncontrollably, my friend told me that he was at a loss on what to do being the only visitor in the room at that time made it even worse. He said he felt so uncomfortable, did not know what to say to console her so he just sat there helplessly hoping that someone would come. He was left with the feeling of guilt because he could not say or do anything to comfort or reassure her. I remember telling Dee not feel to to feel so bad and guilty and that it was good he let her cry because sometimes thats all we can do and I advised him that probably next time when faced with such a situation he could just hug or hold the person and just be there…. sometimes you do not have to say much to say alot.
A similar thing also happened to me, only that in my situation I was the sick one and as is my habit, I cry bucketloads ( I don’t understand why and it’s embarrassing ).
When I am sick and you come to see me please do not say sorry or say anything that is synonymous with pity …such words are my tear inducers .I cry so much and I am one of those with an embarrassing ugly crying face.
Back to my situation…….. I have always suffered from migraine headaches, and in 2013 I got a terrible episode that nearly knocked me out I had to be hospitalised. After several investigations and misdiagnosis, I was informed that I had a malformation in my brain and I needed surgery as soon as possible. My colleagues got to know I was unwell and came to visit me at the hospital – shortly after the doctor had broken news to me that I needed brain surgery. I was still coming to terms with this news when my colleagues arrived and they were all smiling politely and relaying their best wishes for my recovery – unaware of the diagnosis I had received.
In my mind as my colleagues were talking all that was playing in my mind was that I was going to die and never going to see my friends or colleagues or family again ( especially my kids). So as they are talking and greeting the other people in the room (hubby and mama) I just started sobbing then one of them came over telling me how it was well and everything was going to be okay and the flood gates burst open. I cried and they looked very uneasy at my sudden burst of tears, my manager who had also come just burst into a song and then afterwards prayed…. the words of her prayer were like she was reading my mind.
I felt very embarassed afterwards and was smiling sheepishly but it also helped to ease the situation for all of us in the room. When I was eventually well enough to go back to work, I had the most supportive colleagues anyone could ask for and no one brought up my brain condition in conversation, we went about work normally and this helped me to cope and get back to my self faster……….. for the record after many considerations I never underwent brain surgery or undertook any medical intervention. I am just taking care of myself better, living a healthy lifestyle and practicing wellness.
Anyway, I was reflecting about this recently and I found that for me as a person, if I am unwell or going through a tough time trying to talk to me about it worsens my mood. If you must talk we should talk about things completely unrelated to the current situation or sit with me quietly…..that is how I cope and manage and when I have taken it in and calm down, then I can talk about it.
How about you? How do you cope with grief or tough situations?
What kind of support or encouragement works for you? Please share with us in the comments below.
You can also check out a related post tips to manage stress and anxiety
Thank you for coming by and blessings