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Actions for Those Grieving Have a Powerful Impact

Updated: Mar 29, 2019

As soon as my sister Barb heard the news about our daugher Lisa's death, she packed and made the three hour drive to be with our family. My husband, older daughter Laura, and I were too numb to function very well. Barb immediately took over---straightening the house, vaccuuming and doing dishes. She picked up fast food for us or made meals. She greeted people who were dropping off food or flowers. She also went with us to the church when we met with ministers and music director to plan the funeral. While in the midst of that planning, Lisa's elementary school band teacher called. She said that she would be honored to play a flute solo at the funeral. Lisa had played the flute all the way through high school.

Friends brought food and that was a welcome gesture for all of us as no one wanted to spend time grocery shopping or preparing food.

When the funeral date and time was announced, we learned that 15 of Lisa's college friends were flying in from all over the country to attend! We invited those friends, along with extended family members back to our house for a light meal after the viewing. On social media, our older daughter asked friends to send their pictures and memories of Lisa, which contributed to the DVD that was made of Lisa's life. When those 15 friends came over, we watched the video, pausing it often so that they could describe the occasion for the picture. The whole visit was spent talking about their fond memories of Lisa. They were all in their early 30's and it would have been easy to talk of their own circumstances---jobs, upcoming weddings, pregnancies etc. But they didn't. They kept the talk about Lisa. They all knew that Lisa loved to wear earring of all kinds, so they purchased matching earrings and presented a pair for Laura and I to wear as well. I remember turning around at the funeral and seeing all of them wearing those earrings in memory of Lisa. It was heartwarming.

On the day of the fuineral, a friend that had met Lisa at the Eating Recovery Center had cut short her vacation in Iceland to be with us and attend the funeral. She came back to our house and talked of how Lisa had impacted her recovery and her life.

Throughout these three years that have gone by since the funeral, we still hear from some of those friends. Her best friend calls us around the time of Lisa's birthday. The friend from the ERC sent us an uplifting book about grief on the date of Lisa's death. Four of her friends still keep in touch with me through social media.

Even though we were experiencing the devastation that a child's death can bring, I felt that we were surrounded by God's love through the actions of the people around us. If you are ever wondering what to do for someone who is grieving, remember what actions had such an impact on us during our dark time. The grieving family may not be ready to acknowledge the actions right away, but they will also never forget the kindness shown to them.

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