My friends, there are times, when politics needs to be cast aside for humanity. This is one of those times.
Some tragic news to report. A political blogger, who is respected on both sides of the aisle; has lost his wife to a sudden death at age 41.
I am referring to James Joyner from outside the beltway.
She leaves behind James and two children; Katie who is 3 and Ellie who was born June 21.
Before you head over, keep these suggestions from Sense of events in mind:
What not to say Do not attempt to explain the death. Comments such as, "This is all part of God's plan," or "There is some purpose served here that we don't understand" are not helpful. Just skip them. Grieving parents, widows or widowers are not looking for cosmic wisdom or theology. No matter how helpful you think such things are, or how intensely you believe them, they do not help.Again, I think it would be nice if everyone would just kindly walk on over and leave a nice message for the man.
Do not minimize the impact of the death. Deaths of loved ones are consequential, and must be regarded as such. A woman I knew had to bury her three-day-old baby girl. A woman of her church told her, "At least it wasn't a boy." In the recent death of my elderly and long-term ill mother-in-law, several people said to my wife and me, "At least she isn't suffering anymore." These kinds of comments are cruel, not helpful.
Do not talk about the unfairness of life or make the deceased and the family a victim of circumstances. Comments such as, "I don't see why the doctors could not have done more," or "Your wife was such a good woman, I don't see why she had to die" or the like harm rather than help. The deaths of loved ones create chaos in the mental and emotional states of the families. Often, they wonder whether they could have done something more to save the deceased. Don't say anything that could reinforce these feelings.
What to say
Express sympathy and offer support. Be a friend. Be brief and sincere. Here is a template you can use either verbally or in writing a sympathy card:
I am saddened to hear of your loss. Please be assured that my prayers are with you. I know these days are difficult for you. You have many friends who will support you and who are eager to give you aid and comfort. We pray that you will be strengthened through God's grace, and come to find rest and peace. Sincerely, [name].
It is not inappropriate to offer, "If there is anything we can do, let us know," but not many next of kin will let you know. If you truly want to offer more than moral support, just do it. Offer to take their car to be washed before the funeral. Offer to do their laundry or house sit or visit to answer the phone. Be imaginative in discerning what routine tasks you can perform for the bereaved; those are the tasks that tend to be left undone. Never force yourself on the bereaved, of course, but usually a doer is gratefully welcomed while a mere promiser is forgotten.
Thanks Guys and Gals,