Discover more from Finding Words in Hard Times - with Jon Swanson
024 - Encouragement in different ways.
Welcome or welcome back!
For the several of you who are new subscribers, “Finding Words in Hard Times” is a newsletter with stories and tools to help you be more comfortable as you help others in hard times.
This week, I’m thinking about the past.
My birthday was Monday, and I had lots of greetings from many parts of my life. And on LinkedIn, Facebook, email, text, and Instagram. (Nothing from Threads. I haven’t made that move.)
After reading and remembering and responding to them all (mostly (I’ll get them all by the weekend)), I remembered a couple pieces I’ve written in the past.
A few months ago, I wrote about the value of eulogies for the living. It came from a talk I did for respiratory therapists.
As I was preparing to talk with you today, knowing what many of us know about the end of life, I started to think about writing eulogies for the living.
What if we thought about the people we care about most,
and rather than waiting for the inevitable end of life,
we started talking to the people that we love more than anyone
about how much they matter,
about what they actually mean to the people around them?
The article suggests a number of ways to be helpful in eulogizing those who are still alive. It can include birthday greetings on social media, but can go a lot further.
I’ve also written about writing an actual eulogy:
While I was getting birthday greetings, I remember a piece about grief support using social media.
[W]hen you see in social media that there has been a death, what do we say?
You know, as well as I know, that there are many responses that are not helpful. Comments about how we recovered from a similar loss so they should be fine. Observations on how this should feel. Questions about details of the death. Observations about what this should teach other people about how to behave.
I’m assuming that you are not wanting to learn ways to be rude. (You wouldn’t be among the readers of this newsletter.)
Instead, like me, you are wanting to figure out the best way to be supportive to the person who has posted, to the friends and family facing this loss. Drawing on some of my experience and training and observation, I’d like to suggest a way forward.
Read the whole story here: grief support using social media.
A friend wanted to take us out for supper for my birthday. “What’s your favorite place,” she said. I started laughing. “Portillos,” I said.
I don’t like imposing my food choices on other people. I don’t like being the one who picks the restaurant. But I really like Italian beef sandwiches. And Portillos is a taste of my Chicago roots. And so we went.
Italian beef, dipped, sweet peppers. And fried. And eventually, my free slice of chocolate cake. It was, as always, wonderful.
My first Italian beef sandwich wasn’t at Portillos. It was in Mr Rozell’s shop class during 7th or 8th grade. Near the end of the school year, he brought some kind of cooker (it had to be before crock pots), and at the end of class served us sandwiches. It was amazing.
I’m still searching for that taste, just like I search for brisket that tastes like some we had with friends in Coupland, Texas. And sweet corn that tastes like the ears my grandfather picked just for me when I was six or seven, served at nine in the evening when I should have gone to bed.
I write all the time here about finding words in hard times. You and I think a lot about providing support in grief. But I’m not only on a quest to be as helpful as possible. I’m also still looking for that perfect sandwich. And enjoying the ones in between.
Have some good in your weekend.
See you next week.