February 2012 IssueVol 4, Issue 7


I Did Not Know 

What To Say  




WELCOME EVERYONE! We are grateful that you have chosen to be a part of our online community.


Featured Article - Walk Beside Me and Be My Friend by Nan Zastrow explores how relationships can change after the event of grief. Some relationships will strengthen, some relationships will end and new relationships will begin. Nan's article has helped me understand and forgive those that were not there for me when I was grieving and at the same time appreciate those that were even more.


Virtual Book Tour - Be sure to checkout our Virtual Book Tour featuring interviews with authors that have written inspirational books on grief and the healing process.


Do you have an inspirational story you would like to share? We invite you to submit your inspirational stories, letters that have reached your heart, a favorite quote or poem, an unforgettable outing, or a book that touched your life. We would love to hear from you.


With Love and Gratitude,




There are things that we don't want to happen but have to accept, things we don't want to know but have to learn, and people we can't live without but have to let go.

~ Author Unknown




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Featured Article

featuredWalk Beside Me and Be My Friend

By Nan Zastrow


"A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out. Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Walk beside me and be my friend." (Charles Caleb Colton)


My life changed gradually after the death of my son, Chad, on April 16, 1993-and so did many of my friends. Recently, I met a co-worker whose empathy in my early stage of grief was unconditional. I haven't seen him in nine years. We hugged and talked about our lives since then. I was reminded of his warmth and support; and it still glowed. Then it hit me! What was different about Steve that made him a loyal, comforting friend when so many others during the same period of time disappeared from my life?


Grief has a way of sorting out those who remain "true" friends and those who "ride off into the sunset." I was puzzled by this enigma. And like I've been doing with other aspects of my life since grief, I decided to reflect on that very thought. Did my relationship with friends and acquaintances change because of my profound grief that was uncomfortable for them or was it something more than that?


Often in the education series that my husband and I facilitate, a participant will bring up their sadness regarding the breakdown or ending of a friendship since the death of their loved one. I share my story with them about friends of ours.


For many years, my co-worker and friend enjoyed social activities that included our spouses. When Chad died, this couple came to the funeral, but I didn't hear from them for over a year afterwards. One day my friend called and apologized for ignoring me. She asked if the four of us could get together for dinner. Halfway through the meal, they started talking about the sporting events in their sons' lives. I said, "I remember when Chad played sports. It seemed we were always....." The sudden silence that came over the table was deafening. The evening ended abruptly, and we haven't seen them socially since. My feelings were shattered by this encounter.


In my journey through grief, I've learned not everyone who was your friend before your loved one's death will be your friend during and after your grief and mourning. I surmised that my friends changed because they didn't know how to deal with their own feelings about grief and loss; and additionally, they didn't know how to deal with the emotions I was then expressing. I felt confident that this was all there was too it... until now. Now, I know above and beyond these valid assumptions there was something more.


An even greater reason for the disintegration of relationships was the fact that as I changed-I grew! And, I grew in a different direction-away from them. This isn't a "bad" thing. But I was struck by the significance of my initial reaction that my friends didn't know how to be part of my grief-how to be my friend when I needed them most. I felt betrayed. Through an unstated mutual agreement, we casually drifted apart. They were no longer able to meet my personal needs, and I was destined to "grow" from my experience.


Being a companion in grief is a learned experience for some. It requires taking cues from the bereaved that need to hear the name of their loved one, tell their story, and talk about their experience. We encourage our group participants to establish their personal criteria for relationships with friends that will grow with them through their grief. Here is the criteria I found important for me.  

  • A friend in grief is someone you can confide in and trust with your most sensitive feelings and thoughts and in return, expect confidentiality.
  •  A friend is not judgmental and allows you to say what you need to say without trying to alter your expression of anger, fear, disappointment, or sadness. These are necessary emotions of grief that help you work through your loss.
  •  A friend is willing to listen, sometimes just sharing the silence with you, and accepting your quiet space and your open tears.
  • A friend in grief encourages you to share your memories and talk about events in the life of your loved one.
  • A friend keeps in touch and spends time with you for as long as it takes. A friend in grief is there when others walk away.
  • A friend in grief will encourage you to reach out and explore your feelings and eventually create new dreams.

Next to my husband, my sister, Sally, has been my true friend. She admitted often that she couldn't imagine what I was going through. Initially, like others, she believed my pain would heal best if I put my loss behind me, moved on, and forgot about my pain. After a period of time, she realized it wasn't that easy.


Once, I told her my story about two eagles flying over our country home on the anniversary of Chad and Jenny's death. I was sure it was a symbolic message, and it gave me peace. This fall she told me, "Today, I saw two eagles soaring together. I thought of Chad and Jenny." Now that's a friend that was in tune to my needs; listened to my grief; and grew with me!


Those friendships lost during grief or gained during grief were critical to my personal spiritual growth. People come in to our lives for different reasons... (Remember the verse: for a reason, a season, or a lifetime!) Savor every friendship for what it means to you at the time; and you'll be able to accept the few that abandon you when you felt you needed them the most. When a friendship changes, allow yourself to let go of that relationship. You are not responsible for its disintegration. There's a new friend waiting to step into your life.


In my early days of grief, I found a poster that hung in my office and it still applies today.


Who knows the joys that lie ahead


The secret smiles I'll find,


The friends I'll meet


The memories sweet,


The cares I'll leave behind.


Who knows the beauty of the days,


I've never seen before.


My only wish for life is this


The courage to explore.


(author unknown)


My husband, my sister, and my friend Steve were genuine friends during grief that met all the criteria. They were willing to walk beside me during the darkest moments and encourage me to find the meaning in my grief experience. Looking back now, I'm grateful for all my friends-those that walked with me and those that walked away. In each circumstance, they gave me the freedom to grow!


About Nan Zastrow

Founder of Wings, A Grief Education Ministry


Wings, a Grief Education Ministry was established in 1993 as a non-profit, charitable organization. Its purpose is to Honor the Past and Rebuild the Future.


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?Walk-Beside-Me-and-Be-My-Friend&id=6519489 Walk Beside Me and Be My Friend

Thoughtful Sympathy Gift Ideas

Sympathy Gifts



Heartsmith Jewelry
Specializing in Lockets and Sentimental Gifts. Unique and unusual Lockets and Pendants.



Visit our Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts page for a wide variety of sympathy gift ideas for your loved ones.  We hope the thoughtful gifts listed on our website inspire you to give warmth and joy to your friends and family in their time of need. 

virtualVirtual Book Tour & Interviews

We invite you to explore our Virtual Book Tour and Interviews with tips on how to assist a grieving loved one.

If you are an author or an expert in the grief recovery field and would like to be interviewed, please contact us at info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

To order these books and preview other inspirational books, be sure to visit our Helpful Books page.


About I Did Not Know What To Say.com & Lori Pederson
LoriLori Pederson created I Did Not Know What To Say in April 2009 as a platform to inspire and provide resources to people that wanted to help their friends and family through the grieving process. 
Lori's expertise comes from those experiences that only life can provide.  Over the past twenty years, Lori has lost many family members, including her mother to ovarian cancer, as well as many friends, colleagues and pets.  She is no stranger to loss and the grieving process.
Throughout her life she has been blessed with many friends and relatives that were there for her as she experienced these great losses. She understands that although people want to help, they often don't know where to start.  I Did Not Know What To Say.com was created out of Lori's desire to assist people find the words when they don't know what to say or do.
You can learn more about Lori and her organization by visiting www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com, reading her personal Blog or contacting her at:
Lori Pederson

Each week we will be adding new inspirational stories and resources to our website and Blog.  Help us reach our goal of providing inspiration and insight to the world by sharing your story or resource with our online community.  We would love to hear from you! 
Share Your Story. Please email us your inspirational stories, letters/cards that have reached your heart, a favorite quote, an unforgettable adventure, a thoughtful gift idea, a book that touched your life, or a suggestion for our website or newsletter to

If you are an author or expert in the field of grief recovery, we would love to interview you for our Blog and/or one of our upcoming newsletters.

If you have a website, Blog or newsletter, we ask that you consider including our information on your site.  Here is the link:   

I Did Not Know What To Say
IDidNotKnowWhatToSay.com is a website created to inspire and provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process.

With Love & Gratitude,


Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say

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