Loving Those Who’ve Lost

Hi There!

(Some of my besties, loving on me at Andrew's evening memorial service 2013)

(Some of my besties, loving on me at Andrew’s evening memorial service 2013)

I just got back from an incredible weekend in Cuero, TX. I can remember just a short year ago driving into Cuero and feeling overwhelmed by the loss of my husband, Andrew. Everything about Cuero reminded me of him. I remember having a breakdown walking through Andrew’s parent’s house, where we lived and where Andrew passed away. I could feel the heaviness of what life was like not that long ago. This time driving into town felt much different. This time, I felt like I was coming home to family. I credit this to the people who live there and in the surrounding areas, because they have gone above and beyond to take care of our family. To this day they are some of our biggest supporters. If you ask Ellie where her home is she will tell you it’s in Cuero. So it was no surprise that getting up to speak to over two hundred women at The Women of Faith conference felt as comfortable as sharing with family. One of the most rewarding parts of this experience was hearing childhood stories about Andrew, listening to other inspiring life experiences, and just connecting through a hug or word of encouragement.

The excitement of this weekend had my creative juices flowing and I had a topic I wanted to explore with you, but since receiving some news today about a dear friend who’s just experienced a loss, I feel compelled to share something else first. It doesn’t matter if it’s a spouse, child, family member, friend, etc., loss affects us all at one time or another. Even if it’s not directly us, we feel the effects of the loss of others and in our spirits we want to help. I can relate with being on both ends of the spectrum, from the one who needed support to the one who wanted to support. Today, I want to share some of the ways I felt most supported during my season of loss. Everyone is different in how they want to be helped during this time, but I hope this post might give you some direction and insight into what the person experiencing loss might be needing.

  1. Just Do It” – I appreciated when people just took the lead. If you’re thinking of doing something, just do it. You don’t need to ask, just make it happen. A lot of times you’ll get a text or a call saying, “Let me know if I can help.” Most people aren’t going to let you know, because when you’ve just experienced loss, you’re disoriented and you don’t know what you need. Think of the basics: food, childcare (if they have children), cleaning, etc. These are just a few things that need to get done daily that are hard for the people who’ve experienced the loss to actually think about doing. I really appreciated people bringing us meals, mowing our lawn, cleaning our home, sending flowers and gifts, and helping to watch Ellie.
  2. Less is More – When it comes to talking to someone who’s grieving, less is more. Let me help take some possible weight off your shoulders— there is nothing you can say that will make them feel any better, so just sitting with them is enough. Let the one who’s just faced loss talk. You can ask them questions, but don’t try to fix it, just listen… really listen (as in don’t listen to share, listen to understand). I personally didn’t care to be quoted Scripture at the time of my loss, but I was not offended by anyone who did share this with me. I knew that everyone meant well. Honestly, you’re just so overwhelmed after the occurrence that just having someone by your side is enough.
  3. Family Time– A lot of people want to be with their loved ones during a loss, so letting someone know you care, but also that you respect their space was really important to me. I always appreciate that those who stopped by seemed to have no expectation of us entertaining them or expecting to stay long. They all wanted to show their love and let us be together with our family. I can remember feeling overwhelmingly loved after getting over 100 plus Facebook messages, plus flowers, gifts, etc, after Andrew passed away. Immediately, I put the expectation on myself that everyone expected me to write them a thank you letter or personally respond to every Facebook message. My heart wanted to do this, but I was emotionally wiped out. Thankfully I released that expectation of myself and knew that the ones who were there to give without expecting anything in return would understand and not hold a grudge. Being with my family and taking care of family matters were my top priorities both during and after Andrew passed away.

I want to make clear that these are just my personal experiences and do not hold true for every single person. In fact, I would love to hear from those of you who’ve experienced loss. What did you really need from others during this season of your life? How were you and your family blessed during your time of need? The more experiences we share the more ideas we will have to help those going through this difficult time. Please share your thoughts in the comments below. If you personally want to connect with me about the loss of someone you loved, please reach out via email at [email protected] to set up a complimentary coaching call. We are all in this together and can all learn from the stories of other’s who’ve experienced loss so that we might be even better supporters to those we love. Blessings!

14 Responses to “Loving Those Who’ve Lost”

  1. Miranda Poppe

    To be honest I had not heard of your story until the Women of Faith conference this past Saturday. I was invited by a friend and God knew what He was doing when He planned my day out for me. Your words were so touching and your story so inspirational. You are such a blessing and thank you for all you are doing.

    • baileyheard

      Hi Miranda,
      I am so glad that you came to the Women of Faith conference! Thank you so much for reaching out to share your experience with me. Being able to connect and inspire others to heal and to keep moving forward is at the heart of why I share my story, so hearing you say that you felt that way is very encouraging. Thank you for being a blessing to me. Love and Blessings to you Miranda!

    • baileyheard

      I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to loose a child. My heart and prayers go out to your entire family. I’m grateful that you found this post helpful. One of the reasons I wrote this post today was to remind myself what helped me during that difficult time, so that I could remember how to serve my friend. Thank you so much for reading and for sharing Caroline. Blessings.

  2. Cookie Slate

    Thank you Bailey for always being so open in sharing your feelings. God has given you a gift and I know you will use it, and have been using it, to help many people. Love you, Cookie

  3. susanstaples

    Bailey, I really acknowledge you for your courage and strength of heart. I love how you touch all of us so deeply. Through your writing, I know anyone who has read this can relate. Sending you so much Love and Light to your continued heartfelt shares!

    • baileyheard

      Susan, thank you so much for your feedback and encouragement 🙂 I truly appreciate you reading. I’m so blessed to have you in my life! Blessings and Love.

  4. Angie

    Bailey, we haven’t met, but my late husband and I followed your journey. We became members at Park Cities Baptist back in 1993 when my husband was in Seminary. We were married for 19 years. He committed suicide on Sept 6, 2013. Leaving our 10 and 14 year old behind.
    What a year and a half this has been! I read your blog and am encouraged by your ministry. I would have to agree with you about “Just Do It”. I even had a friend tell me she would hire a cleaning lady for me for a year and to just let her know when I was ready. I felt so awkward coming back and asking for it, so I never did and she never checked back. That would have been helpful.
    One of the most memorable things someone did was just text me that they had left a basket at my door. It was full of healthy food, bath stuff, gift cards, books on grief, etc. and one thing I still appreciate is people who check on me even today. Grief and the effect of it, especially with kids, doesn’t go away in a month or even a year.
    Thanks again for you openness and sharing your inner beauty.

    • baileyheard

      Angie! Thank you so much for sharing your journey with me. I am so sorry for your loss. I feel connected to you through the experience of loss and being a single mama. I appreciate you sharing your personal stories with us and helping to give great ideas on how to help serve other’s during a time of loss. I love the gift basket on the door step idea! I too, appreciate those who still check in on me and El. Thank you so much for following our journey Angie! Love and Blessings to you!

  5. Rebecca Lessley

    When mutual friends asked for prayers for you and Andrew several years ago, little did I know that I would be the one who was blessed by the two of you. Thanks so much for sharing your journey. I haven’t suffered a loss, but I’m healing from surgery and learning a big lesson about helping. Especially appreciated are friends who have figured out what I need and just done it. Some good ones – dropping off my office mail, ignoring my “oh we’re fine” and delivering meals anyway, taking the lead on a Church committee (wow!), figuring out before I do when I’m going to need a ride and offering to drive, and detouring by my house on the way to donate boxes of books so that I can pick out the ones I want. I’ll definately be changing the way I help in the future and hearing from you and others about what was helpful after a loss is much appreciated.
    P.S. Love hearing about Cuero, and as you’ve probably figured out once Cuero adopts you you’ve been adopted for life!

    • baileyheard

      Hi Rebecca!
      Thank you so much for contributing your experience with your friends helping you as you have been recovering from surgery. Sounds like you have some wonderful friends! Thank you for following my family’s journey! My daughter talks about Cuero almost daily! We love us some Cuero, TX!! Praying for your speedy recovery. Blessings.