If there’s ever been a time when I’ve desperately needed the strength of others to carry me, it is now. If I’ve ever needed for someone to hold me together and be there for me, the time is now.

My cross is too heavy to carry alone. I need you to carry this burden with me. I need you to pause and take a moment out of the fast pace of you own life to be there for me. To wipe my tears. To listen. To do some of the physical lifting while I weep and mourn and bear the intense sorrow and pain that is mine alone. I need you to refrain from judgment and offering clichés that are unhelpful.

I haven’t even crossed the threshold of the pain and emptiness and sorrow. It’s not over for me, it’s only just begun. I need you to know that even if you don’t understand it.

I need more than your text messages of condolence. I need more than a passing, “How are you doing?” I need more than “he’s in a better place” or “the firsts are always the hardest.”

I need your physical presence. I need your hugs.

I need you to say, “I know today is a really hard day, I’m thinking about you.” I need you to say, “This sucks and there is nothing I can say to make it better, but I’m here for you.” I need you to say, “I will be at your house on Thursday to hang out with you. What should I bring you for lunch?”

I need your prayers. I’m barely holding on to my faith. I need you to lift me up and help me find the courage to believe again.

I need you to say his name. Tell me something you loved about him. Tell me something you see of him in me. Tell me how badly you miss him.

If I don’t feel like talking, I need you to be okay with my silence. If I want to talk about it, I need you to listen—really listen—even if you’ve heard it a hundred times before. Even if it’s painful to hear. Even if I cry. Even if it makes you cry.

I need you to understand and acknowledge that things like the holidays are going to be hard, but every day things are hard, too. He died on a Wednesday and now Wednesdays are hard. He and my mom often took my kids to dinner on Thursdays and now Thursdays are hard. He came to nearly every one of my kids’ sporting events and school programs and now nearly every one of their sporting events and school programs is hard. We often went to church together and now going to church is hard.

Life is hard. Every day is hard in one way or another. Odds are any given day of the week or minute of the day is hard for me. If I say something that hurts your feelings or that is out of character for me, I’m most likely having a hard moment or a hard day. I need you to understand that. I need you to let it slide. I need you to offer me encouragement anyway.

I need you to understand that I can’t really be there for you the way you might want or need. I am grieving and that truly takes everything out of me. That’s all I can do right now. I can’t offer advice or encouragement or be the caretaker and optimist I once was.

I probably won’t think to make plans with you any time soon. I’ll probably turn down your invitations to go out. I need you to keep checking in. I need you to keep trying. I need you more than ever right now.

I need you to help hold me together. I need you to help me be strong. I need you to help light up my darkness. I need you to help. I need you.

You may also like: 

Supporting Friends Through the Ebbs and Flows of Grief

This is Grief

Please Don’t be Afraid of My Grief

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Leanne Willen

Leanne Willen is a wife, mother of four, writer, and teacher. She writes about motherhood, faith, finding joy, and grief. Her blog Life Happens When encourages and challenges others (and herself) to embrace the ordinary amid the everyday chaos of life.