Skip to main content

Hospitality for the Rest of Us: Grief




Grief is defined as deep sorrow, it's also described by medicinenet.com as the normal process of reacting to loss. I laugh, as if there is something normative about loss. Other than the fact that we all experience, I've yet to see any two people react the same way or process in the same manner. Yes I know about the stages of grief, and they're out out there for us to check off in hopes that we'll see that we're making progress. But honestly, if grief is one thing it's unique.

Which speaks to why we see so many people on the internet blasting one another for saying things like "I know what you're going through." "I feel your pain" and "We all go through this." Screw that! This is MY grief, don't belittle it by trying to take me out of it, even for a second.

How does hospitality fit in with grief? We let people be real, without having to make fake connections. Being present, without saying a word. Sometimes showing up with cookies and your cleaning supplies is in order. Don't worry about saying the right thing, don't worry about saying anything at all.

As an introvert, I know that you're not likely to fall into the need of wanting to say something. Your problem is going to be that you feel the pain you see and will want to stay away. You're going to read it on their face and it's going to wrap it's icy fingers around your heart and squeeze with all its might. Sometimes, people need others around that are crying with them. You, introvert, will also be able to see things others don't. You'll notice when they need a break and be able to come along side them with a sappy movie. You'll carry their pain long after the funeral and estate is settled and will be sensitive to their loss. You'll walk the grief journey with them. You have the unique position of not being put off when they say for the 100th time that they just want to stay in. You totally get staying in.

Your awareness of others feelings will keep your mouth from saying the wrong thing nine times out of ten. But it might also keep you from saying the right thing. Occasionally, you'll have to break radio silence and ask yourself what's best for your friend. You'll be worried if your silly joke or memory will be appropriate, but if it's born from love, then chance it.

Now, what about this cookie and cleaning supply business? This doesn't necessarily need to be a close friend. But it does need to be one that is in need and you know where their bathroom is. It doesn't take long to clean a bathroom and it's one room in any house that could always use a touch up. If you are a good friend, then you might want to venture into kitchen or laundry. I haven't done any of these by the way. This thought has been born out of our miscarriages. I would have loved nothing more if someone could have come in the days after our loss and cleaned our bathroom. Every time I went in there, all I saw was me on the floor praying, life pouring out of my body. My grief would have covered any shame from having a stranger clean such a private part of our home. It hurt to clean that space, it still does sometimes.

Grief isn't linear. We don't ever just get done with it. Our job in regards to hospitality is to allow people to grieve. Accept how they change and to give them a safe place to land on occasion.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Stories from the Kitchen: Taste and See

I celebrated my birthday last weekend. It was wonderful and the leftovers left me with a question or two. Find out what they are and how I'm currently answering them in this week's podcast. Stories from the Kitchen Season 2, Episode 2: Taste and See Notes from the episode: Taste and See by Margaret Feinberg Dad’s New York Cheesecake (from the back of a Philidelphia Cream Cheese package) 1 ⅞ cups graham cracker crumbs ¼ to ½ cup butter, melted 1 cup sugar, divided 2 lbs cream cheese (4 packs) 2 large eggs (lightly beaten) 1 tsp vanilla 2 tbsp cornstarch 1 cup sour cream Preheat oven to 450F Mix well graham crackers, 2 tbsp sugar, and enough butter that the mixture holds together. Reserve 2 tbsp for garnish. Press mixture onto bottom and sides of a greased 9-inch springform pan. Chill in the freezer while preparing the filling. Mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth and light. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and cornstarch until just blended. S

Sweet Caroline by Kelda Poynot

  First off, my copy of Sweet Caroline  (aff link) is not a gifted review book, I spent my well earned Amazon No-Rush Rewards money on this book. Second of all, this is not my standard close door kind of romance. Third of all, this is a really fun read. Caroline is a hard working young lady that is doing all that she can to make ends meet and to get her graduate degree. Part of that work is renting out the room above her garage. When she answers the phone of an unknown number, believing it's a future tenant, she has no idea how much her life is about to change.  The young man on the other end of that call, Hashim, is tall, dark, and mysterious in all the right ways. The story quickly moves from the girl next door falling for a stranger to a fight for their lives. And in true real life fashion, those fights aren't just with external enemies but the ones we carry within.  It's an entertaining story of Caroline and Hashim, discovering their love for each other and fighting to

Project 52: Good Friday is low key

We had a wonderful Holy week, full of celebrations, one of my favorites was the Good Friday celebration.  But it was emotionally and physically draining.  By the time that evening rolled around, we weren't up for much of anything.  We ended up having a game night on our bed with crackers, cheese and salami.  It was fun, we played cribbage, and In a Pickle (which we determined is not for two people with little to no brain power).  I'm looking forward to this Friday because Joel is off the entire week, which should mean more energy and maybe something creative!