From a Widow's Pen

Reflections From the Heart

Ministering in Early Grief

People have asked my input on how they can best minister to one in the early stages of grief.
With a touch of whimsy and a large degree of truth, here you areā€¦.
(I’m certain I will be bestowed an honorary PhD once you hear and ponder the answer.)

The question: You are grieving. How can I help you?

The answer: You can’t!! (Where’s my PhD?)

Here’s the deal:
(1) If you call them, they won’t answer because they don’t want to talk (likely due to them feeling alone or forgotten). But if you don’t call, they’ll feel alone or forgotten.

(2) If you send texts, they’ll feel cheated because they can’t really tell you how they feel (which is very likely alone or forgotten). But if you don’t text they’ll feel alone or forgotten. And if you decide to call instead of text, well, (see #1) above.

(3) If you invite them to dinner they won’t come because they don’t want to pretend to be happy. But if you don’t invite them, they’ll feel alone or forgotten. And, well, if you call to invite them, they won’t answer (see #1) and if you send a text they’ll be upset (see #2) because you didn’t call (see #1) so how are they going to express how they feel? Now they feel alone or forgotten.

So there you have it. You are destined to not do it “right” and they are destined to feel alone or forgotten. Until one day when they do answer the phone, respond to the text and come over for dinner. All because you persistently called, texted or invited.

All I can say is follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. If He leads you to call, do it. Even if they didn’t answer the last 10 times. If He leads you to text, do it. Even if all they reply is “I’m great” (which is never true by the way). And if He leads you to invite them over, do it. They’ll likely say “no” (and then you don’t really have to cook or clean) but they might say “yes”. And each of you will walk one step closer to healing.


  1. Love you, my friend. Hoping and praying you have fewer days ahead of feeling alone and forgotten than you have had in the past.

    • Sharon Ammons

      March 29, 2015 at 7:22 am

      There are certainly fewer days now. It is a real side effect of the early stages of grief, though. To be in a room filled with people you know love and care for you, yet to feel totally lost and alone, often suppressing the flight reflex.

  2. Never Forgotten

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