“Rejoice with those who rejoice.
Weep with those who weep.
— Romans 12:15
by Jordan DeWald and Tiffany Griffin
“What a special place to live.” This was a sentiment I heard echoed over and over in the last few weeks as our community faced an unimaginable loss of a sweet little girl. The daughter, granddaughter and friend of our friends. Then just a short time later a young man lost his life in a bull riding accident. Their loss was felt across the country, even receiving messages throughout the world. But it was here was the loss was overwhelming. In the community’s grief I have been reminded, once again, how special this place we live is. It is not just me who sees it, feels it, is grateful for it. I heard those words from countless people. Living in the community of the Burleson, Crowley, Joshua area is truly a unique experience. Despite growth there is a strong neighborly connection and a genuine care for the ones in our community. The most recent tragedies have brought this reminder to mind. When a young person tragically loses their life our community reels from the news. We grieve with the family and the friends and jump in to take care of needs. Just in the last six months we have seen several families experience the unthinkable pain of losing their child. Requests for prayer and tributes covered social media and became a part of conversations. I’ve heard people describe the feeling around the community as “heavy.”
We have wept with those who wept.
The community rises to the occasion, whatever the need may be. People hold benefits of all kinds using the skills they have. Meal trains are set up, basic needs are met, and people are generous with their money. This isn’t just with bereavement situations. When a person is facing an injury or illness, the same rallying support shows up. A young person in the community was in need of a bone marrow transplant so numerous people, some who didn’t know her, submitted test kits to see if they could be a donor to this child. When young ones at local schools have faced cancer battles, their classmates have worn their favorite colors, made special days to honor them, decorated their lawn and held welcome back parades. When someone is facing surgery, workplaces have set up meals and rides to appointments. A popular manager at a local restaurant is facing a cancer battle and guests of the restaurant sent her off with lots of love.
In the middle of tragic circumstances, it is important that the grievers take care of themselves. Grief is a powerful and overwhelming force. Tiffany Griffin, owner of Local Life, shared some of what she has learned about grief after her mother was killed in a car accident.
Be patient with people who are experiencing grief. No one knows the feelings until you experience the trauma. Everyone handles things differently and it’s okay. Just be a good friend to them and listen to their wishes. Pray for them. They need it.
Life goes on even when you don’t want it to. The world is still spinning even though you feel like the world has stopped. It’s okay if you need to take the day minute by minute and then hour by hour until you can take it day by day.
Don’t stuff the feelings. Let them come out and deal with the emotions. It’s a healthy thing to dig in and let the emotions come out. They will come out in other ways you won’t be proud of if you continue to stuff.
Know it DOES get easier with time. I never believed this but it is true. You seem to make friends with the empty feeling you have inside you.
Denial. This was a really hard one for me. The quicker you can come to terms with what happened the better it is in your mind, body and soul.
Avoid what I call the Deep Dark Hole of Depression. Call a friend, ask for help! People want to help and they will be happy to go on a walk or take you out to eat. Laughter is the absolute best medicine. You will both feel better after a little date:)
Don’t be mad at God. He wants to comfort and help you. Running from him makes things harder. Run to him instead.
You are not promised tomorrow no matter what you think. Make sure the people you care about know how much you care about them. Call, text or even better share a meal and be a good friend. Forgive who needs it and mend where mending is needed. Leave a legend and make a mark.
Opportunities to Help
It is a natural human desire to help and try to make a bad situation better. It is imperative that you make sure your help is actually helpful though and you are only doing it for the benefit of the person needing it, not to make yourself feel better.
- Start with helping someone you know with individual, everyday needs. Do not simply say “let me know what you need.” That puts the responsibility on the person needing help to find you a job and ask for the help. Instead, offer a specific suggestion. For example, call your friend when you are going to the grocery store and ask if you can pick some items up for them.
- Look for tangible ways to give. There are benefits, scholarships, GoFundMe accounts, meal train services and more. Social media searches usually bring up several or you can contact a point person or their church.
- Honor someone by supporting their cause. The two young people were both organ donors. Sign up to be an organ donor should the time arise for you and discuss it with your family. If someone is facing a disease, donate to fundraisers they host for the research organization helping fight their disease.
Current Local Causes:
Sign Up to be an organ donor: donatelifetexas.org
Live Like Dawson Foundation/Dawson Barnes Memorial Scholarship: venmo.com/longlivedawson
Donate to Raven Goff’s causes: search #cravinravin on social media, or her parents’ names
Join the Be The Match Registry to be listed as a blood stem cell donor: join.bethematch.org