No one wants to see someone they love in pain. But sometimes, by trying to reduce the pain of our friend, we are subconsciously looking for relief for ourselves. We not only feel our friend’s pain, but we feel our own helplessness. No one wants to feel helpless.

The best thing we can do as a friend of someone who is has lost a child—or anything—is to be willing to feel pain and helplessness with them.

No one wants to hear that. In our culture, we want to fix it. Distract from it. Numb it. Rush it. But in this case, the pain we’re wishing away is the very thing which is bringing healing—the pain and discomfort of grief has to be allowed to remain and to do its work until it is finishes, even if it takes a lifetime.

on being a friend to someone in grief