The funeral may be over, but that aching emptiness still pervades the very soul. Everyday tasks still seem hard to do. Family and friends who have come from out of town begin their departures. And so the silence descends.
We were not ready to begin the task of settling Lisa's affairs, but the need to do so loomed in the back of our minds. Our daughter lived in a different state from us which was an added complication. However, once again, family and friends stepped in to help. My sister Barb, lived in the same town as Lisa did and it was Barb who secured a lawyer to settle her affairs in their town. We had to go to their town to sign the paperwork (as my husband was the executor) but it took only one day to accomplish all that was needed. And it was Barb who aquired a realtor to help sell her condo. Barb and her friends cleaned and packed up her belongings in the condo. Those were powerful ways to show help and support during our time of grief.
About a week after the funeral, a friend came to call on my husband, our older daughter and me at our home. She brought a white paper gift bag that contained a heart touchstone for each of us, a book on grief and a list of grief support groups and counselors in our area. More importantly, she stayed to talk about Lisa. We talked about Lisa's likes, travels, job and role in the family. We laughed. We cried. And when this friend left, the three of us felt so uplifted. About a month after the funeral, two other friends came to visit, bringing soup and salad. Again, the topic of conversation was about Lisa and how we were coping. Those two visits were the first crucial steps in our grief healing.
Time spent reaching out to someone after the funeral may have more of an impact than some gestures prior to the funeral. Days leading up to the funeral seem to blur. But time after the funeral seems to drag on. Continuing to bring a meal (even if it's fast food), doing the bedding laundry after guests have left, offering to go with them to a grief support group or just being there for a compassionate conversation is one of the greatest gifts a person can give to a person who is bereaved.