"Da Kine"

By Tony Solis


How powerful the tongue is.

When my grandmother passed on, our family received many letters of love and concern. They came from different parts of the world, from family and friends. Reading these cards and the thoughts that were expressed were nothing short of comfort and helpful.

If you know someone experiencing a loss and need the words to help comfort them, please read on.

It takes only a few words. No matter how eloquent or simple, communicating is an expression of love. For my family, each note meant someone had taken the time and energy to let us know they were thinking of us. Even if what was written was just a few lines or the writer expressed fear of not saying the right thing, the fact that they set aside a few minutes to say, “I sorrow with you,” was touching.

Belated can be a blessing. Often there is a great deal of support immediately following a death. But then life goes back to normal for everyone except the grieving family. Don’t hesitate to send a note weeks or even months later. A belated message is often a much-needed uplift the day it arrives.

Replay your memories. Letters that stood out for me were those that mentioned a special memory of Grandma. It didn’t matter what it was or when it happened. Things such as, “I remember how she taught children in class. She authentically loved teaching the kids,” and, “Grandma always loved more than she was loved and it never bothered her. Giving of herself was enough.”

Such comments are precious reminders of some character trait or some long-forgotten event. No detail is too trivial. There is no greater comfort to the bereaved than to talk about their loved one.

Give your feelings a context. It was meaningful when someone detailed exactly what he or she was doing when they heard of Grandma’s death. “I was outside weeding the garden when the postman put two letters in our box. What a shock as I stood there on the front porch reading of your tragedy with tears streaming down my face.” Another wrote, “We had just reached home and a mutual friend called me only to [relate] your tragic loss.” It’s as though they were saying, “That moment was important to me.” Of course, in many deaths there is not the same element of shock, but for everyone there is a moment when they hear about the loss.

Wait to catch up with your own news. Focus your thoughts on the grieving person. Avoid the temptation of “catching them up” with your life. When you say, “I care, but life goes on,” it tends to lessen the impact of your comfort.

Write out the verse, not just the reference. If a Bible verse is worth giving, it’s worth writing out. Before you include a verse, check out different Bible versions. Maybe a certain translation expresses most clearly what you are trying to say.

The Bible says, “the tongue is like the rudder of a ship. Although the ship is large and driven by strong winds, a very small rudder controls it wherever the pilot should choose to go.” (James 3:4) The same is true of written words.

Your card can be God’s balm to grieving friends. On that day years ago, those letters did not only touch me, I was held by God’s hands on Earth.

Tony Solis is the Host of “Eh! U Da Kine, Ah?” in its second season on OC16, an on-air personality and the producer of the Aloha Morning Show on Hawaiian 105 KINE. Tony can be reached at tony@udakinetv.com.