How to Navigate the Loss of a Loved One with Your Small Group

 

I don’t know who said it first, but there is a quote that says, “Silence speaks when words fail.” At one point or another, we will encounter a moment when we won’t know the words to say. Maybe you’ve been there before. That’s often what the loss of a loved one does. Initially, it leaves us speechless. So, how do we come alongside one another with support and love?

I recently lost my grandmother and as a result, I became keenly aware of what my spiritual family did for me. I knew my biological family was there for me, but I wasn’t able to physically be with them right away. So I prayed that my spiritual family would surround me in ways that my heart needed. When one is experiencing grief, it’s like something locks up and freezes, and you aren’t able to necessarily explain what you need. Unfortunately, grief is a part of life, and we can’t ignore or escape it. You just have to be present and let God heal you in the ways He knows you need it.

In my grieving process, I learned three things that could potentially help other Small Group Point People as they navigate grief themselves or as you help other people through their grief.

1. Be Present

Learn to be present in ways that help the other person, even if it is sitting with them in silence. Just as the quote says, “Silence speaks when words fail.” Your presence is enough to let someone know, “You are loved, and I’m here for you.” You can also be present through phone calls, texts, dinners, or visits. I learned there is a healing power in being present and sitting with other people around a table without an agenda in mind.

2. Be Aware

Several people asked if they could just drop off dinner and as much as I declined, they kept asking. I realized they were aware of how much I love to cook for others, so it was an act of love for them to bring me food. They were aware enough of the details of my life that they knew how to best serve me. People who are grieving won’t ask you for specific things. Be aware of not just what they need, but what would help them know they are loved.

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3. Provide Support

Your presence and your food are necessary, but support goes a long way as well. I had numerous people who encouraged me to take care of myself in whatever way I needed to. Sometimes the person might need extended family time. Sometimes they might need to take a break from leading a small group or maybe they need to get involved in a small group and not lead one. Sometimes flowers, cards and gifts remind the person of the good memories of their loved one.

Being present, being aware, and providing support are three simple things we can do to further help encourage and grow the Body of Christ! Just because people don’t ask for help in their grieving process doesn’t mean it is unwanted. Let’s serve each other well, so we can continue to be better together.

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Published by

Kiersten Telzerow

Kiersten Telzerow lives in the Washington, D.C area with her husband, Matt, and their goldendoodle named Luna! Kiersten serves as the Small Group Director at one of the campuses at National Community Church and is a Master of Divinity student at Wesley Seminary through Indiana Wesleyan University. She loves being in community with people and learning about their stories. When Kiersten is not studying, her favorite thing to do is spending time with family and friends, trying new coffees, attending leadership conferences, or reading a new book. She loves all things small groups and believes that we were never meant to exist alone - community is always better!