It can be awkward….the first time you see a friend or acquaintance after the funeral.
Maybe they attended the funeral and expressed their condolences or maybe they couldn’t attend and sent you a card. Either way, the first time you meet again it can be very awkward. They don’t know what to say and you are dealing with the emotional roller coaster called grief.
On Diane Luccitti’s bookshelf is a very useful book entitled Life After Loss by Bob Dietz. One of the many useful parts of the book is a letter that you can personalize and send out to friends either as a letter or an email. Many people find that this simple act helps to relieve some of the awkwardness and makes a difficult time a little bit better.
Here’s the text of the letter. At the bottom is a link to a MS Word file containing the same letter. Feel free to use it.
A Dear Friend Letter
Dear Friend (family, pastor, fellow workers….),
Recently I have suffered a devastating loss. I am grieving and it will take months and even years to recover from this loss.
I wanted to let you know that I will cry from time to time. I don’t apologize for my tears since they are not a sign of weakness or a lack of faith. They are God’s gift to me to express the extent of my loss, and they are also a sign that I am recovering.
At times you may see me angry for no apparent reason. Sometimes I’m not sure why. All I know is that my emotions are intense because of grief. And if I repeat myself again and again, please accept this as normal. If I don’t always make sense to you, please be forgiving and patient with me.
More than anything I need your understanding and your presence. You don’t always have to know what to say or even say anything if you don’t know how to respond. Your presence and a touch or hug lets me know you care. Please don’t wait for me to call you since sometimes I am too tired or tearful to do so.
If I tend to withdraw from you, please don’t let me do that. I need you to reach out to me for several months.
Pray for me that I would come to see meaning in my loss someday and that I would know God’s comfort and love. It does help to let me know that you are praying for me.
If you have experienced a similar type of loss, please feel free to share it with me. It will help rather than cause me to feel worse. And don’t stop sharing if I begin to cry. It’s all right, and any tears you express as we walk are alright too.
The loss is so painful, and right now it feels like the worst thing that could ever happen to me. But I will survive and eventually recover. I cling to that knowledge, and even though there have been times when I didn’t feel it. I know that I will not always feel as I do now. Laughter and joy will merge once again someday.
Thank you for caring about me. Thank you for listening and praying. Your concern comforts me and is a gift for which I will always be thankful.
A Dear Friend Letter (MS Word File)