by Shirley Mozena
But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. Job 23:10 NIV
A tragedy happened this week. A work-related accident took a man’s life. It was totally unexpected, yet it was not a surprise to God.
I don’t know for sure, for I wasn’t there, but I imagine that morning was most likely was a normal morning. The family rose, all busy with their tasks. The father/husband off to work at his business. His older son, who also worked in the business, walked out the door with him. Most likely he kissed his wife goodbye, with a reminder of something that needed to be done that day. She kissed him back, busily thinking about her tasks for the day. “Bye, Dad,” the younger kids said, having no idea this would be the last time they would talk to him this side of eternity.
That day, the husband, father, son, entered eternity. He had no idea this would be his last day. Neither did any of his family. But his God, in whom he believed, did know. He knew his days from start to finish: Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16 NIV).
Of course, that wasn’t what this family wanted. No. They wanted more time. More of their husband, their father, their son. I’m sure his parents are lamenting that they were supposed to go first. Not this way.
I’m so glad every one of those family members knows their Maker. I have heard them speak of their faith in Jesus Christ. I know He will give them strength in the next period of their life which will be full of sorrow. Their lives have been changed forever.
For those of us, who stand on the sidelines, feeling great sorrow and pain for the people in their loss, ask ourselves, what can I do? We think, I can’t take away their pain, all I can do is pray, I guess. But “all we can do” is the most important thing we can do. Those family members need prayer more than ever. One of the daughters said in a text regarding donation of meals to help the family, “no pressure, though, prayers are the best.” Even in great sorrow, this young woman recognized what was most important.
I can’t speak directly to this family’s needs, but I can tell you what was helpful for me when our family experienced loss. Here’s a few suggestions:
- Do pray each time the family comes to mind. The Holy Spirit is reminding you to do this. They need your prayers.
- Don’t be afraid to approach these people in their grief. You don’t have to say anything. Job’s friends were most helpful when they sat with him in his sorrow. It’s when they began to speak that they were the opposite of helpful and were chastised by God Himself. Your words aren’t what they need. They need you. A comforting hug. A silent presence. Just sit with them.
- Don’t wait for them to ask for your helop. Just offer to: vacuum the rugs, wash dishes, clean the toilets, do the laundry, mow the lawn. All sorts of things that seem so difficult for the griever to do during this time.
- Put the family on your prayer list and pray.
- If there are many plants and flowers donated to the family, after the memorial services, offer to take them to people who might enjoy them–a nursing home, retirement center, hospital, the church. It will help them with a task they really can’t do.
- Offer to go shopping for them. They need coffee. Milk. Eggs. The basics.
- Sometimes a cash offering for their use is very helpful. I remember one older gentlemen on a fixed income wrote a check to me and emphasized it was “for my use.” No strings attached.
- Sometimes the food donated is mostly for main meals, but breakfast items are also helpful. I really liked the breakfast casseroles so family members could help themselves when hungry and heat it up. I loved the oatmeal casserole–all ready to go.
I hope these suggestions are helpful. There are many more things you can do later on.
Remember, when people lose a loved one whether it was an unexpected or expected death, they will be recovering for many months and even years to come. Pray for them. Not just now, but for months and years.
his article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Shirley Quiring Mozena is a writer, blogger, and national speaker for Stonecroft. She has written three books, Second Chances, Beyond Second Chances: Heartbreak to Joy, and recently published, Second Chance at Love: Navigating the Path to Remarriage. Her work has appeared in newspapers and magazines.
Join the conversation: When you were grieving, what was most helpful for you?