Beyond the Casserole

Creative Commons image “A Friend Most True” by Wacky Toyo Boy Borj via Flickr. (

The greatest gift we can give a griever is our complete attention, which requires few words.

Not just our mental attention but our intuitive attention as well, noticing body language, facial expressions, tears, sighs, and silence just as if they too are words. They don’t expect earthshaking advice, but rather for you to be a witness to their own processes. A heart with ears.

Let go of the desire to fix the other person or the need to make them feel better. All that inner attention robs the griever of your full attention. Deep listening replaces the fear of the “don’t know what to say” syndrome.

Just be present.

Be a witness.

Be the calm in the storm.

Be willing to laugh when they need to laugh.

Be willing to allow tears when they need to cry.

Open your heart to the experience in spite of the possible pain.

This type of support helps to create a sacred space for them to heal in their own way and in their own time.

At a time when loneliness can be painfully intense, your visit may be their only source of peace.

Originally published at on October 16, 2015.