As I continue walking in my own grief, there are times when I encounter someone else's grief. Figuring out how this interacts with my own emotions is interesting and complicated. How do you process another person's sorrow when you're in the middle of processing your own? (Insert Shruggy-shoulder emoji).
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I am not quite sure.
As an example, many people currently are grieving and processing the loss of an NBA basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, along with his daughter and seven other people who were killed in a helicopter crash. This news fills me with sorrow, but I'm not sure what to do with it. I don't know them personally, but I am sad for their families and friends and for so many who are mourning this very public loss. Yet, adding this grief on top of my already heavy heart isn't something I can easily do.
I can relate to the heaviness of the loss, sure, but what hits me most are the similarities. Bryant was also 41 - the same age as Josh when he passed away. The loss is devastating and many people are left here hurting. He leaves behind a wife and family that is shocked - filled sorrow and questions. His wife is figuring out how to grieve on.
Many times, when I encounter someone else's grief, I want to reach out to provide support and encouragement, remind others that they are doing okay and will be okay (somehow or in some way). Another part of me wants to run away and say, "I can't do this right now." I can't take on any extra grief. I find that I do a little bit of both.
As I strive to find footing in this rocky terrain, I acknowledge that it is an interesting and challenging place to be. My prayer in these times is that God gives me strength and wisdom to know how to navigate the various avenues of conversation. And that he gives me the courage to reach out when I can and the faithfulness to pray for others who are grieving when I am not able to engage fully.
Praying for one another is good. It's part of carrying each other's burdens that I believe Galatians 6:2 highlights: "Carry each other's burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ."
The faithful and simple act of prayer offers help to those who are grieving and hurting - even if you might not feel like you are "doing" anything.
As Christians, we trust the truth that prayer makes a difference. I know the prayers of many around me have been and still are a source of strength for weary days.
So back to the question of how to support someone else in their grief when we are still neck-deep in our own trial? It comes back to prayer, taking a moment to lift up someone else who is new to grief or still working on long-lasting grief and sorrow. It means praying even when we are wrestling out the fact that our prayers didn't result in the outcome or future we desired.
We're in this together through the good and incredibly hard.
Hi! It's Jenn Brown, writing my story that is now slightly different as we enter a season of new grief. On September 30, 2019, my dear husband Josh passed away after battling brain cancer.