In the week that followed my friend Mandy’s passing, my grief began to turn into self-pity.
I suddenly began to recall all of the people in my inner circle of friends who hadn’t acknowledged the loss of my close friend or checked in with me to see how I was doing.
The truth is, I was daily contacted by a lot of people who were asking how I was doing, sending me scripture verses to comfort me, and reminding me that they were praying for me.
The outpouring of love was tremendous!
But there were those close to me who didn’t initiate contact with me even once to let me know they were praying.
For a couple of days I was angry at them, because I felt like they didn’t care.
I knew at the time that my feelings were inappropriate because I knew these people truly care about me, I was just very confused as to why they were suddenly very silent when they knew I was hurting so deeply.
Two reasons why friends may not acknowledge your grief
1. They don’t know what to say
Think about a time when the situation was reversed and you were the friend of someone who was grieving a loss. Chances are, you felt very clumsy and didn’t know what to say or how to respond.
This can be very uncomfortable, even tricky at times because you don’t know how the grieving person will take your words.
What if you say the wrong thing?
What if you step on a landmine?
2. They aren’t thinking about it
This may sound a little calloused or cold, but the truth is, that there is a very real chance that they aren’t thinking about your pain all day long.
To expect that your pain will be front and center in their life is placing on them expectations that are too high.
They have their own lives, their own struggles, and their own situations that are vitally important to them right now.
There is a trap we can fall into is expecting everyone’s lives to halt while we grieve.
As I prayed about my disappointment with my friends, I realized that they were not uncaring; rather, I had fallen into a trap of selfishness.
My pain wasn’t the most important thing in their lives at that moment, and that was okay.
How to respond when your friends don’t acknowledge your grief
In the book Grieving with Hope, by Samuel J. Hodges, we find tips for overcoming feelings of loneliness after a loss. These tips are extremely important to follow, as they help us maintain proper perspective in our grief.
1. Read God’s Word – Don’t neglect feeding your spirit while grieving. Draw close to God during this time to help fill that void and loneliness you feel.
2. Print out Biblical Truths – Write out those things from Scripture that speak to your heart and carry them with you to remind yourself of these truths throughout the day.
3. Turn your loneliness into prayers of thanksgiving.
5 Verses that remind us that God is with us
Joshua 1:9 – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Psalm 23:4 – “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
Zephaniah 3:17 – “The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Matthew 28:20 – ” I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Revelation 21:3 – “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.”