Reminders: "Comfort Ye My People"
by Ardith Hoff
A little girl came home, and her dad asked her where she had been. She said she had gone to see the mother of the little girl in the neighborhood who had died. The father, who himself had always struggled with what to say to someone who had just lost a loved one asked his daughter, “What did you say?” The little girl replied, “I didn’t say anything, I just climbed up in her lap and we cried together.”
We all struggle with what to say to people who are grieving. We can’t say that we know how they feel, because even if we have lost loved ones ourselves, we can’t know how someone else feels. We want to be of comfort, but we don’t want to make the grieving person feel even sadder than they already do.
The little girl in the story above had the right idea. Just being there to let the person know that they are not alone is one of the most comforting things we can do. What we say is of much less importance because, at the time, the person grieving is more than likely a bit overwhelmed or in shock. Words may be hard to comprehend. A simple hug or touch of the hands may be much easier to take in.
The traditional way to express our sympathy in this region of the country is to bring a casserole or baked goods. If the family has out-of-town relatives they need to provide for, food might bring comfort. It shows that we understand and are there with something tangible rather than just saying something like, “Call me if you need anything.”
A visit, after others have gone home, can help fill the void one often feels after a death. A well-chosen sympathy card can also bring comfort in the days after the hubbub of the celebration-of-life activities are over. Cards often contain helpful bible verses such as the following: “God blesses those people who grieve. They will find comfort! “Matthew 5:4 or “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26 or “Comfort ye my people, says your God.” Isaiah 40:1