I also thought about it because someone sent me something that made me remember my brother, who passed away in 2009... which is why I wanted to write how to help a grieving friend, part 2.
Here's the story... in the stack of Christmas cards I got this year, I received one from a close girlfriend. It got shoved away in my desk, so I forgot to open it until yesterday. When I did, it wasn't the normal Christmas card I expected. It said, "A gift has been made to Samaritan's Purse in your honor." Now, Samaritan's Purse is an awesome organization that I am happy to support, but it wasn't until I opened the card that I was floored.
The inside read:
I immediately cried. I hadn't seen his name written out for years. It reminded me that he was more than just a family memory. He was a real person that I used to hug and live with and make memories with. It was such a moment to treasure to just reflect on him and love on him and know that someone across the world was getting blessed because of this gift in his honor and they knew his name.
Whoa... it blessed me!
And I wanted you to know... if you want to help a grieving friend, do something out of the ordinary and in that person's honor like this. Surprise them weeks down the road, years down the road. Write down the anniversary on your calendar. Write down a note to do something for them in the future. Do something now to let them know that you remember and care about them.
I vividly remember nine months after Brody passed that we got a card in the mail from someone just talking about him... and it came from someone who wasn't necessarily a close friend we talked to every day! That blessed me so much! So much love and outpouring comes immediately after something happens - and yes, that stuff sticks with you too - but there's something special about someone remembering when the world has moved on.
So if you know someone who lost a friend last year or the year before that or years or decades ago... or even last week, send them a special note. If it was a recent loss, make a note of the anniversary and send them a gift next year and the year after. Do something out of the ordinary and unexpected to show you care... it will bless them!