How to be a Faithful Friend During the Hardest Seasons of Life

JUNE 30, 2020  /  KATE KELTY  / 

How to be a Faithful Friend During the Hardest Seasons of Life
We are so thankful that Kate Kelty is a regular contributor to our blog. She shares beautifully and honestly from her life experiences. We know you will find Kate's words encouraging.
-Adina Bailey,
How do you best love and support someone who is grieving or suffering? This is an important question - a question with a complex answer worth its weight in gold.
If you want to love someone well who is hurting then you really need to understand and commit yourself to the word faithful.
A faithful friend makes a choice to enter the pain for the long haul and not just a season.
A faithful friend allows your suffering to affect their life. They allow their own lives and agendas to be changed as a result of your loss. You will not hear a faithful friend say, "This is unfair to me to have to be stretched, uncomfortable or to make certain sacrifices."
A faithful friend does not become easily offended when phone calls and emails go unreturned... even if months pass. A faithful friend recognizes that suffering is a game changer in relationships. They stand by faithfully without judging or accusing and without needing anything in return. They understand that this pain is life altering and they do not have the same expectations for the friendship that they did before.
A faithful friend listens and doesn't try to fix it. A faithful friend can simply say, "I'm so sorry, I wish I could take your pain away, I'm not going anywhere," for the millionth time. A faithful friend can sit in your pain comfortable with her own silence and inability to save you.
A faithful friend is a student of your pain. They ask permission to "go there" and respect your desire not to. They say, "I want to love you well and I'm not sure exactly what that looks like for you. I'm going to do my best but recognize there will be moments when I say the wrong thing or miss an opportunity to support you. Please tell me when I've hurt you and please tell me what I can do differently or better for your particular needs." No one is a pro at grief support. Education from the person you're supporting is crucial.
A faithful friend initiates conversations and talks about the person who has died. I cannot begin to express how comforted and loved I feel just to hear the sound of my Anna's name from someone else's lips.
A faithful friend doesn't try to equate their past pain with yours. For example, "I know exactly how you feel because..." Empathizing and validating statements are a much better route. These are statements like: "I know our pain and losses are so different and I certainly can't imagine how your pain must feel. I remember feeling (angry, lost, and helpless) when I endured a crisis in my life. How is it for you?"
A faithful friend knows when to cry with you and knows when to be strong. There were certainly moments when all I wanted to do was cry in someone's lap and feel that they were adding their grief to mine. This made me feel like I had partners in my pain and not just counselors. But friends who seemed exhausted by my pain made me feel like I was a horrible burden. Knowing how to strike this balance is tricky. Communicate with your friend. Ask what she needs and tell her that she is not a burden.
A faithful friend defends you to others who are less gracious and compassionate to your loss. A faithful friend educates those who are offended by the changes, are confused by your decisions or lack empathy.
A faithful friend remembers the dates, the little and big ones and they call, they write and they honor your pain and your loss. A faithful friend knows that the anticipation of grief is sometimes harder than the anniversary itself. A faithful friend reaches out weeks before the anniversary days and holidays.
A faithful friend calls to say things like, "I was thinking of your Anna today and started crying. I miss her. How are you doing lately?" They share the grief instead of just apologizing for yours. They ask questions long after the loss and realize that even when things seem okay, that they may not be.
How can you be a faithful friend to someone today?
You can read more about Kate's story here.

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Adina & Maureen
Adina & Maureen

Welcome! We're thrilled you stopped by. Our own joys and sorrows have taught us that a well-timed meal delivered by a friend is one of the best gifts imaginable. In this space, we share our favorite recipes to take to friends, meal-taking tips, and other ways to care for those who are dear to you.

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