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Friday, December 6,2013

Good Grief

By Mort Crim  

Nothing speaks our grief so well as to speak nothing.

- Richard Crashaw

Have you ever been in the position of trying to comfort a person in the midst of his or her grief? Most of us have been or will be. It’s one of the most important roles any good friend can play, but some times also one of the toughest. Often, we feel helpless in such a situation. What should we say? What words can we find that will fit?

The best advice comes from those who’ve been on the receiving end of such attempts to comfort. People like Joseph Bayly. Three of his children died over the course of just a few years. In his book, A View From a Hearse, he recalls sitting in the funeral home after losing one of his children. A man came over and talked to him. He spoke of life’s mystery and of how and why such knew what the man was saying was tragedies occur. Joseph said he all true, but it irritated him. He just wished this friend would disappear. Eventually the man did leave and someone else moved in to sit beside Joseph. This friend said nothing. Didn’t inter- rogate. Didn’t offer advice. Didn’t try to explain. Didn’t ask any questions. He just sat there, silently, feeling Joseph’s pain and empathizing with his loss. Joseph to see that friend go.

Bayly remembers that he was sorry Sometimes we help a person most when we speak the least. In times of grief, the greatest comfort comes not from eloquence but from empathy.



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