“If there’s anything I can do… please let me know.”
If you’ve ever lost a loved one, you’ve heard those words spoken. On the phone, in person, accompanied by a hug or a handshake, written inside a sympathy card…
And if you’ve ever anxiously stood by while a friend suffered through the process of grief and mourning a death, you’ve probably said the same thing yourself — meaning every word of it, too.
“If there’s anything I can do…” is usually born of a sense of helplessness, don’t you think? We ache for the friend who is in pain, we want to reach out and “fix” everything, but so often we just don’t know what to do.
So, what really does help, when someone you care about is struggling to come to terms with a sudden loss?
The answer is probably different for each individual, as we all react differently to different emotional situations —
I’ll bet you know someone who craves a big hug for comfort, for example, and others who turn inside their emotional wall to present a stoic face to the world. Me, I’m all in favour of the hugs. In fact, a physical touch is often a good start. Put an arm around your friend’s shoulder, and that touch can cut right through the awkwardness of searching for the right words…