While we were still in the hospital after Alexander was born, Scott and I had several conversations about what we thought we might need moving forward.
When you’re in a fog of grief and shock following the loss of a baby, it’s really hard to know what you might need. So, we were thankful for the people that provided for immediate needs like meals, home and lawn care and work coverage.
We also knew we would need people. And we still need people. We need to do things like go to friends’ houses for dinner, see a movie in the theater, grab a drink, or go for a walk.
But honestly, I just don’t have the energy to arrange social gatherings. Heck, I’m lucky most days if I manage to shower, get dressed, remember to eat, and sort of function like a human being. And I have no idea when the energy to do things above the bare minimum might return.
And I also don’t always want to be around people. Sometimes I need to be alone.
But we still need people. And because we don’t necessarily have the energy to arrange social get togethers or to make plans, we need to be invited. And then we need the permission to accept or decline that invitation without feeling guilty. Because on any given day, at any given hour, we might need to do something with people, to get out of the house, to go for a walk. Or we might need to be alone.
In the weeks since losing Alexander, people have helped to bear this burden for us by simply extending invitations.
Scott was invited by one of our
pastors friends to go out for dinner, drinks, and movies with some guys.
We were invited over to hang out, have dinner, and just be by a family from church that lives in our neighborhood.
I was invited to a Thirty One party a friend was hosting with no pressure to come or to buy anything, but just to hang out and drink some wine.
We were invited to a high school soccer scrimmage.
I was invited out for a drink at 9:30pm on a Friday night by a friend who knew Scott was out with some guys and I was home alone.
We were invited to join some youth ministry colleagues for lunch and a walk around our favorite furniture store.
While all of these invitations are different, they share something in common. The invitation was extended without expectation. We were given permission to accept or deny without guilt depending on how we were feeling on that day or at that moment.
The invitation was still extended.
In this season of grief, we need to be invited. And then, even if we say no the first time, we need to be invited again. And again. And again. We need more than “let me know if you need anything,” because most days we have no idea exactly what we need.
If you want to help bear the burden of grief, extend an invitation. It could be as simple as an invitation to join in something you’re already doing–eating dinner, going to your kids’ game, drinking a cup of coffee, seeing a movie. Sometimes we’ll say yes, and sometimes we’ll say no. But you can bet we will remember that we were invited–and that alone can help to carry this burden of grief.