When someone suffers the loss of a loved one, don't shy away. Go to the service. Check in during the months following. Say the name of the person who died when you talk to them. Forward pictures of the loved one if you have any, share stories. There are exceptions to this, so always take your queue from the person who is grieving.
"Make yourself proud." Teach them to take pride in themselves - in their work, their behavior. Everything from a 3 year-old making her bed to a 10 year-old's homework. If they learn to keep going until they're satisfied it's done well, they won't need us to keep after them.
I like to say a Hail Mary just to join the chorus, to add my voice to the millions who are praying in that moment. The world has plenty of people thinking or doing horrible things, we need to add to the good, add to the beauty as much as possible at every turn. Saying a quick prayer is sometimes all I can muster.
In marriage there will be times or occasions when one of you will be “pilot” and the other “copilot” (depending on skills, abilities, circumstances, etc.)
Both pilot and copilot are good! But never be a “passenger” in a relationship.
Say it early and repeat it often, so that it sinks way down deep: There is nothing you could do to make me stop loving you. No mistake, no failure, no decision, nothing. There is no hole so deep that if you fell into it I wouldn’t climb down to help you out of. I love you no matter what.
It’s hard to know how to support a friend who is grieving, but it’s a priceless skill / attribute. Some people just are naturally know what to say, but for the rest of us, it can be learned. If you don’t know what to say, just stay silent but be present. Or try something like “I’m so sorry.” Be mindful not to turn away because their pain makes you uncomfortable. Send a text just “thinking of you.” Grief takes a lot of energy and focus, and there’s not much you can (or should) do to help someone process their pain. So lessen their burden by taking some of the stupid everyday life stuff off their plate: Walk the dog, make a meal, make sure there’s food, clean clothes, toilet paper, etc. Help with school or work stuff if possible. Check in often but take your queue from them. Some people want company while others want solitude. Everyone processes pain and grief differently. Don’t force your way on them. Offer to look at pictures or hear stories about the person they lost. This time is about them, so avoid any comparisons with how what they’re going through is similar to something you or someone else went through, unless it was the exact same thing: Telling someone who lost a child that you understand their pain because your grandmother died last year is not okay. People mean well but they say really stupid sh*t sometimes. (If you ever say something that may have caused pain, just acknowledge it, apologize for it, and move on from it.)There are lots of resources. Grief is so isolating. You can’t make their pain go away, but that’s okay. You’re job isn’t to ‘cheer them up’ it’s to ‘keep showing up.’ Read up on current literature, there are tons of great resources.
When you feel sad, mad, confused or in any way upset, go to a quiet place to catch your breath. If you can sit with it and let it tell you what it wants to tell you, then you become its friend. But if you try to deny the feeling, or numb it, it grows much stronger and it fights you.
Take the family on periodic “spending fasts.”
As an exercise, go a day, a weekend or a week without spending any money. Make due with what you have.
Encourage participation. Tie in spending fasts with holidays, lent or in support of a cause.