When Angelia Waite’s young son drowned in the family swimming pool, she was devastated. In the days and weeks afterward, she took a few steps to move through the loss. These are things we all can do when facing a death in some way.
Protect yourself and your family.
“We had a lot of families that exited our life at Ramsey’s drowning, because they could not process and honestly, they didn’t want to talk to their children about it so a lot of our friends left at that time.”
Don’t delay your grief.
“Delayed grieving is by far the worst decision because when it does come it comes in and lasts longer. When those tears need to flow just allow them to flow.”
Stay tucked in close to Jesus.
He is more accessible to us in our griefs than in our joys. Let Him comfort you and minister to you. When His friend Lazarus died, Jesus took the time to listen to the family and weep with them before raising Lazarus from the dead. He wants that same intimacy with you.
Angelia eventually shared her story in the book . She encourages those in grief to seek God, even if you’re angry at Him. He can handle your heart. He can bring you healing in the face of stunning loss.
“That is when I found Him at a deeper level I didn’t even know existed. If He is truly omnipresent… He was right there at the pool side with Ramsey. That is the God we serve. Nothing happens that He is unaware of; there is so much power in that.”
How can we encourage others who are grieving? Angelia says don’t be quick to speak.
“Do less speaking during this time, and more hugging and more praying. Because I’m telling you, we will say the wrong thing. And we do it because we want to fix it. It can’t be done. We have to be led by the Spirit of God.”
When someone we know has experienced a loss, platitudes and well-intended words of advice won’t bring them comfort right away. Angelia herself struggled with anger, sensitivity and frustration in the months following Ramsey’s death. She describes how she became angry at the man mowing their lawn three days after the family had buried Ramsey.
“I looked at him and I thought, ‘How dare you go on with life…’ because that’s what it feels like.”
Give them grace to get angry, to be sad, to wrestle with doubts. Give them room – this is not the time to get offended by their words but to love and choose to be present. Your support will go further than you realize if it comes with actions instead of words.