Two years ago, our family’s lives changed. My husband had been employed since he’d graduated university at a company in Texas when they went through yet another round of layoffs. This time, he wasn’t safe. This time, his number was picked.
It was a really rough time. I was a mostly stay at home mom who worked about ten hours a week at a local Mother’s Day Out. It was a minimum wage job. I did it because I was bored staying at home with my daughter.
At the time, I had an active Facebook account (which I deactivated, for the second time, almost a year ago). I’d posted something about my thoughts about how crappy it is to feel so secure in something and then to suddenly have it taken away. Well intending friends posted things along the lines of “God’s got this” and “you will be a ok” without pausing to think This is Grief. This sucks. I resented those friends. Many of them had at least one person working in their household in a secure position. They wouldn’t be getting laid off. They wouldn’t understand how basically the security we thought we had was gone. The platitudes, no matter how well intended they were, hurt.
I never doubted God had it or that he was in control. My husband did not particularly like his job, so I thought maybe God knew what he was doing, but at the time, I just needed to grieve. I needed people to be there beside us, telling us, “Damn, girl. This sucks.” I needed people to plot the company’s demise, but to keep me from actually doing anything, which honestly, plotting is more than I ever did, but i needed that kind of friend – the kind that gets in the muck and mire and goes through the hurt and pain with you.
I learned a lot about helping others with that kind of grief. It’s not just when someone you care about dies, but it’s when you lose anything that you held dear or felt you needed.
So next time you know someone who is grieving, lay off the platitudes. Get in the trenches with them. Mourn with them. They already know it’s probably going to be ok, but life for them has changed and helping them by being an ear, being a shoulder, being a “partner in crime” will do infinitely more for them than reminding them of what they probably already know. Grief is a bitch. And no one should go through it alone.