Most of us struggle with what to say to friends when we hear a loved one has died. Sometimes we decide not to say anything. Sometimes we show up and feel like we’ve said the wrong things.
Though I’ve taught speech and I’ve written so many words, I wrestle with what to say to this person at this time. Now that I’ve worked as a hospital chaplain for several years and had hundreds of these conversations, I’ve realized that there are things that I say often because they seem helpful.
A year ago, I gathered 15 of the things that I say to people in times of loss and I put them into a small book called This Is Hard. I did it because I can’t talk to each of the five people losing a loved one in the US each minute. I wanted a simple resource to send to people I know, to give to people I meet with.
That’s what I’ve done during the last year. I’ve sent copies of the book to friends, to teachers, to pastors.
But others have used it, too. A health system has given them as part of a packet of grief resources to each family. People have asked for additional copies to give to people they know. People have looked at it to help others and realized that they needed some help for their own grief.
I'm grateful for the people who have shared the book with others. And I'm grateful for the stories I've heard about people being helped.
This is not a comprehensive resource for long-term grief. It’s not a collection of long essays, not a training manual.
It is a simple, readable resource for people who want to know what to say when talking to someone facing loss. And it’s a simple, readable resource for people who have lost a loved one and don’t have anyone helping them.
If you would like to help more people find help through This Is Hard, please consider the following:
- If you haven’t looked at the book, you can order it.
- If you’ve found it helpful, leave a review at amazon.
- If you want to look at it first, you can see an online version at thisishard.info
- If you know someone who needs a copy (after you have looked at it yourself), send me a mailing address.
- If you want to support the process of sending books to people who need them, there are links to PayPal and other options below.
- If you are part of an organization that needs multiple copies (like chaplaincy in a hospital), let me know and we can talk about that.
The other day, I heard someone talking about the process of letting people know about resources you've created that you know are helpful to people. She said, "It's not self-promotion. It's work-promotion".
This is Hard is one of those resources that I know is helpful. Not to everyone, of course. But for people who are in the middle of the loss of a loved one, these words can offer support.
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