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How To Show Up (When You Can't Show Up)

Grief has always been lonely. Suffering has always been lonely. But it’s lonelier than ever in the era of isolation. The people we’d normally run to, fly to, jump in the car and rush to be next to... are people we can’t see or touch. Not now, at least.
But anyone who has ever been in crisis can tell you that there is a big difference between being there and being there

Not everyone who shows up physically is really showing up. And even though the comfort of physical presence is irreplaceable, even though the idea of not being able to hug the people we love right now is absolutely crushing... we can still show up.

Here’s where we always start.

There are lots of things we can’t do right now: hang out, hug, meet for coffee. So, what can you do? 

Can you pop a card in the mail? 

Send a text or voice memo? 

Slip them a few bucks on PayPal or Cash app (Nora refuses to use Venmo and has no good reason, she's just being a belligerent older millennial)?

Send them a subscription to your favorite paid app?

Ship a book from your favorite local bookstore?

What will you do?

As every piece of dusty exercise equipment in our basements would like to remind us, just because you can doesn’t mean you actually will. Sometimes, in our enthusiasm to show our love for others, we overpromise and underdeliver. Not because we’re trying to hurt anyone, and not because we don’t care, but because our hearts are not generally great at time and project management. 

Start small, and it’s easier to stay consistent and not burn yourself out trying to keep another person warm.

Showing up is a matter of trial, error and humility. It is a willingness to provide comfort without expectation or ego, without needing or wanting anything in return. What we’ve seen in the years since we started is the impact of small actions: small donations that add up to a life-changing grant for someone in need, a card that makes someone’s day. A small gesture that makes a big impact

When you’re trying to figure out how to show up, these two questions will always guide you in the right direction…

What can I do? 

And what will I do?

Our newest e-course, the Grief Supporter Guide, is launching soon! It's designed to help anyone struggling with how to support a grieving person and includes two robust audio lessons by Dr. Anna Roth and Nora McInerny plus a downloadable workbook. Sign up here to receive an email alert once the course is live!