I was sitting next to my mother’s bed, keeping watch during the last hours before she died. I’d been a hospital chaplain for a few years, long enough to know what I said to other people, now having to tell them to myself. I don’t have any way to prove what I’m about to suggest. … Continue reading What I assume (but don’t know for sure) about that time while someone is dying.
I’m working to be helpful in a variety of places. The other Friday night, I offered the following as a series of tweets. +++ It’s possible that someone you know lost a loved one this week. It’s possible that you aren’t sure what to say. As a hospital chaplain, I’ve thought about this a little … Continue reading Resources to help you help others in grief.
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen. Book of Common … Continue reading A night-time prayer
“And as countless nights before, the church, in the midst of my weakness, responded with her ancient voice: ‘Here are some words. Pray them. They are strong enough to hold you. These will help your unbelief.’” Tish Harrison Warren, Prayer in the Night (Downers Grove: IVP, 2021), 8. Tish Harrison Warren introduced us many of … Continue reading On praying the prayers others have written.
I’m sorry. Nothing: (Sixty seconds of silence) May I take care of that? (and take the tissue out of their hands and give them a fresh one and throw it away and wash your hands) This is hard. Yes, I remember that time. I don’t know. . whether pets are in heaven . . . … Continue reading 10 simple phrases when visiting in the first hours after a death.
We’re exhausted, many of us. We can’t quite figure out why. We can’t think as clearly as usual, we don’t have the motivation we used to. Our relationships are struggling, we’re more cranky. We think that there may be something wrong with us. But there isn’t. It’s grief. Grief is our response to loss. Our … Continue reading Grief and holidays in 2021
These days, and all days, people die and family isn’t present. It’s particularly hard when rules keep people away. But sometimes it’s distance, sometimes it’s relationship, sometimes it’s timing. From my observations as a chaplain and as a human, I’d like to suggest some of the reasons we feel so emotionally hurt when we know … Continue reading I couldn’t be there when my loved one died.
“What’s wrong?” we ask a coworker who looks stunned after a phone call. “My mom just died.” It’s a moment that can leave us speechless. Or maybe it should. Because we feel a need to fill the space (and our discomfort) with words. We start fixing and telling and offering and answering. My colleagues and … Continue reading What can you say when someone’s loved one has died?
It’s often helpful to send a friend or acquaintance a card to recognize their grief. You can buy an expensive sympathy card, but sometimes you can send a simple note acknowledging that you know of their loss. You don’t have to fill the whole space, just like you wouldn’t fill the room with noise. This … Continue reading Sending a note in time of grief.