suicide

Comfort for Devastating Loss | How to help

Dear Cornerstone Family,

It's happened again.

Our community is rocking with the pain of another young death from suicide. For whatever reason, he couldn't push past the despair he felt in that moment to get to the place where he felt hope. All of us are hurting.

Words fail.

A few things you can do when words fail:

Just listen.

There are no magic words, not even a Bible verse, that can minimize the pain. You can actually make the pain worse by saying misguided things, or asking questions, or spiritualizing the situation. Please don't say things like, "Everything happens for a reason" or "God needed another angel" or "He's in a better place" or "God won't give you more than you can handle." In our broken world, unspeakable tragedies occur daily, but that doesn't mean God causes or approves of those tragedies. Some grieving people have turned away from God, the one they really need to be their ultimate source of comfort, because of such misguided thoughts. Even assuring someone that their loved one is in heaven may not be helpful to a survivor in early grief who is only thinking, "BUT I WANT HIM HERE WITH ME!"

What can you say?

"I love you, and my prayers are with you."

"What a terrible loss for your family."

"He was a good person. He will be so missed."

"How can I help you today?" (Then follow-through with errands, grocery shopping, cleaning, going to church with them, etc.)

"I am so sorry for your loss. I don't even have words for it."

"I can't imagine how much pain you are in. We hurt, because we love him too."

"I'm here."

You can write a note with a good memory of the person who has died, and share something wonderful about their kindness, humor, good deeds - something to show their life left a mark.

Show up.

Probably the very best thing you can do is show up. Don't avoid them, that hurts worst of all. Let them see you care, and don't tell them how to feel. The Jews called it "sitting shiva." It means that friends come, and just sit silently and grieve with you. It's healing - just the caring, praying presence of friends. Tell them that you are praying for them. And then really do. God can say and do things that we can't imagine.

He is the healer, and we are his people. Pray, show up, sit shiva. God will use you.

Love and Prayers,

Pastor Brenda Young

Senior Pastor | Cornerstone Church