“There is no grief like the grief that does not speak”~Longfellow

What do you say to someone who has experienced an unspeakable tragedy? And what if that someone is your sister, who lost a 25-year-old son?  And what if that son took his own life.

A friend comforts actress Cameron Diaz at her dad's funeral two years ago.

FOF Patti (not her real name) tried to say the right thing to her grieving sister for three years. “It’s not your fault. You had no way of knowing the depth of his unhappiness,” Patti would tell her sister. But nothing seemed to help, no matter how many times a day Patti would talk to her.

“I finally realized all I could do was sit and listen and acknowledge my sister’s grief,” Patti told me. “I need to be there for her, and that’s all there is to it,” she added. There’s another sibling, who doesn’t have anything to do with the situation. “It falls to me,” Patti said, matter-of-factly.

It’s a great burden to see someone you love in such emotional turmoil. But, as Patti discovered, there really isn’t a lot we can do to make someone else’s profound pain disappear. We’ve simply got to yet them know we love them and will always be there for them.

I’ve known Patti for over 30 years and I can understand why her sister turns to her. Patti is bursting with genuine warmth, passion, sincerity and love.

Patti calls herself her sister’s “go-to person.” Who is yours?

0 Responses to ““There is no grief like the grief that does not speak”~Longfellow”

  1. lynn says:

    i am so sorry for your sisters and your loss. i understand what you are doing for your sister by just being there for her always. my sister also lost her only son to suicide at 36. he was her world and mine for i had no children. all i can
    do for my sister is be there and help support her. thats all we can is love them and for the rest of our lives stand beside them. once again i am so sorry for your loss.

  2. Lisa Ford Berry says:

    Excellent question – my 17 year old son also died by suicide two years ago September 16, 2008. I have one brother who simply goes about his business even though it was due to his carelessness. However, I am blessed to have a best friend of almost 30 years who lets me talk, cry, rant – grieve. Additionally, I have a wonderful support group who understands the pain that is associated with a child dying. There are no easy answer’s when helping a loved one grieve other than giving the gift of wonderful listening skills – that really is the very best thing anyone can do – just listen.


  3. Toby Wollin says:

    …and , if you don’t have a ‘go to’ — it’s time to brush up on your first grade ‘how to make a friend’ skills. Seriously. The internet is a great place but if you need more than electrons, you need a flesh and blood friend, hopefully someone who’s been through nasty and embarrassing stuff with you, but someone who will reach out and definitely hold your hand. They might also tell you that you need a manicure, too – but that’s what friends are for also.


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