A Becoming Me Without You Blog
By Rachael Crabb
In July, I accepted an invitation to spend time over Larry’s birthday with Trip and Judy Moore. I was conflicted about the visit because the four of us had traveled together many times over the years. This visit would be the first time where there would only be three of us. I asked my prayer warrior friends to lift me before the Trinity for peace and a bit of heart healing. Those prayers were answered above all that I could have imagined.
I arrived two days before Larry’s birthday. That first night we looked at pictures, told stories about Larry and Annie (Judy wrote about Annie’s death last month), cried, and laughed. The next day we drove to a mountain spa area, with stops in villages along the way. The morning of Larry’s birthday, we went to a special little breakfast café to celebrate Larry, the breakfast devotee! The ride home that day was delightful with Trip playing Alan Jackson and Elvis as we drove. At home that evening, we enjoyed a meal that had been a favorite of ours over the years. Larry would have enjoyed the time – all of it!
In hindsight, I realized that the visit became what we of the Symphony Sunday school class in Littleton, Colorado, called a Grief Night (initiated by Al and Jeanie Stirling).
Larry wrote about the grief night in the Grief Share daily devotional, day 339:
“There is great strength in community, the coming together in Christ and building up one another to love and good deeds. And there are times when a person needs community more than ever. We’re basically to pour something of the reality of Christ into the one who is bereaved.”
Here are some suggestions for holding a grief night:
- Plan a time to meet.
- Begin by lighting a candle to symbolize the one who is not here.
- Have pictures to show (perhaps over the course of their life).
- Play some favorite music in the background.
- Serve their favorite snack.
- Have group participants ask random questions about the one who has died to get to know that person better. Some in the group will not have ever met the person who is being remembered but want to be there to support their friend.
Examples of questions:
- How did you meet?
- Did they ever give you a gift that you have never forgotten?
- What was their favorite time of the year?
- Did they have a hobby or special interest?
- Were they involved in clubs, special interest groups, or ministries?
- How did they like to spend their free time?
- Were there special vacation places that you visited together?
- If possible, how could they have better prepared you for their death?
- What do you miss most?
- After about an hour of questions, tears, and laughter, take time to respond. This is not a time for platitudes or advice, but for acceptance and connection.
- Next is a time of prayer. Have the grieving person sit in the center of the group. People who are close by can lay hands on them while several lead in prayer. Designate someone to start and someone to conclude the prayer time.
- Last, close by singing a favorite hymn or other song together. Have the words printed out.
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25
Is there someone you could do this for? Allow a time like this is to bring recognition and some degree of healing as the griever feels seen and heard. Say the name, reminisce about life connections, and begin to feel more at ease around the person who is grieving. Get more comfortable with your own fear of not knowing what to say and do.
My time with Trip and Judy allowed each of us to express our love, not only for Larry, but also for each other. Such a gift.