MOURNING WITH THE ROSA FAMILY
Our community is grieving with the Rosa family this week. Early Monday morning Captain Dave Rosa of the Long Beach Fire Department was shot and killed while responding to a fire in a nursing facility. Dave was a stakeholder in our church and his wife Lynley and son Sam are deeply connected in our church family too. Sam was on his way to houseboats when his mom arrived with police and fire fighters to pull over the van to take him to the hospital where his dad died.
From the other students who continued on the houseboat trip, to our staff, volunteers and small group members, our church family has been amazing. Amanda Wood, who leads Trinity Counseling Ministries and is also a member of the Rosa’s small group has been talking with Lynley and the boys. People have arranged meals, shown up at the processions, offered to raise money and of course prayed, texted and called. I’m so proud of our church family! Thank you for being the church and bearing each other’s burdens.
People that haven’t experienced a lot of grief sometimes struggle to know how to help others who are grieving. They want to help. They just don’t always know how, so sometimes they don’t do anything. Here are a few tips on how to help from someone who has been on both ends of the grief journey many times:
1. Note up.
Send a simple text, email, FB message or note saying “I’m thinking of you” or “I’m praying for God to comfort you and give you peace” or “I’m so sad and I’m here if you need me”. A sneaky group of women in our church even leave rocks of encouragement! It’s a nice touch.
2. Show up.
Just go sit with them. Don’t ask a bunch of questions. They will talk when they are ready. Just be there. This takes time and it’s often boring and depressing. But meaningful conversations with grieving people rarely happen in a phone call or short encounter. Be in it for the long haul. They will need you even more after the funeral.
3. Shut up.
Seriously, resist the need to say something. Don’t say things like, “He’s in a better place” “God must have wanted him in heaven” or “It’s all part of God’s plan”. These cliches create more questions than they give answers. Better to just say, “I’m so sorry.” and leave it at that.
4. Give up.
You can’t fix someone’s grief. You can only wait and help them not to make agreements with the enemy about it. Just empathize. Don’t try to fix them.
5. Grow up.
When someone is grieving and they don’t call you back, text you back, seem like themselves, or otherwise respond the way you want them to, don’t make it about you. Don’t ask them, “What’s wrong? Did I do something? Why don’t you care that I’m here for you? Why are you ignoring me.?” etc. Don’t take it personally. It’s really not about you.
6. Look up.
Just pray for them and pray with them. Even praying with someone on the phone or leaving your prayer on their message can be greatly comforting.
A friend of mine called me after my brother died and I was too sad to answer the phone or talk to anyone. He got it since he had been through it. So you know what he did? He left a message on my voicemail saying he was thinking of me and wanted to pray for me but I didn’t need to call him back but he wanted to pray for me. Then he prayed on my voicemail! That was so great I saved the voicemail.
You don’t need to be afraid of people who are mourning. Just note up, show up, shut up, give up and look up and you’ll be fine. Please continue praying for Lynley, Sam and Alec Rosa in the coming weeks. A memorial will be held Tuesday, July 3rd at the Long Beach Convention Center.