My mother died many years ago, in 1983, to be exact. I remember the day. It was just before Christmas. No, that didn’t make it more difficult. If anything, the joy of new life was alive around me, and I drew from it. I didn’t apply cliches, which, for me, only pads the raw truth. I found ongoing challenges to hear that I’d ‘lost’ my mother. It seemed to be a common thought that I would ‘lose’ her.

I have a question for you. How do you feel about the term, lost and lose, when you’re coping with relational grief? What words do you use to express your sympathy? And do you like those cliches that one person passes to another?

Granted, we suffer in and through the tragedy of ‘loss.’ We grieve. We mourn the loss of a relationship and the one with whom we have shared life. We feel alone. There are elements of our relationship that we lose and will never regain. When the time is right for families, is it helpful to assist them in positive ways to remember, tell stories and dig into photo albums. Is it useful to give thought to a different understanding or choice of other words for ‘lose’ and ‘loss’ when considering death?

Since I’m reviewing words, consider the term “Lost and Found”. Can those of us surround the family and close friends who grieve deeply, help them emotionally find their loved ones in stories or memory? Can we gently open this topic when the time is right and ask questions about the people for whom they grieve? To see their loved one in photo albums, hear her on a video and watch him in home-movies can be healing. I know it’s not the same. It doesn’t cut it for being with a loved one in person. It doesn’t replace the one for whom they mourn. Grief is a process, hard work, and there’s always time to watch for the opportunity to help ourself and others take the next step.

If these words prompt some thoughts for you, take some time and make some notes.