I forgive you in advance for anything you do, think or say in the next 12 months.

Sometimes filling space with words isn’t necessary.

Even if it’s just sitting quietly watching a movie together. Or saying nothing at a lunch. Knowing when presence is needed to assist with absence, and when they need to be alone to deal with absence.

Sometimes they need the know-it-all friend (I’m one of those). I’ve said a version of this to *good friends* before who understand my intent:

“I forgive you in advance for anything you do, think or say in the next 12 months. You don’t have to hold it together for me. Just be yourself and express yourself. But, this time next year is different. You will have gone through every month and every season once. But until then, I will not hold you responsible for anything you do, think or say.”

That’s the ‘gist’ of it. Who have I said it to?

Guys who wanted a “MAN UP!” speech not realizing that you CAN’T “Man Up!” right away.

Of course the whole “man up!” idea is ridiculous but it’s oddly helpful sometimes when you need to cope, get back to work, stifle your tears.

I suspect for most people that would be an awful speech to give. I only said it a few times to a few people who wanted that kind of speech. Usually I just say the standard expected things in lieu of anything else to do.

But ultimately, I don’t think there is a “generic” answer to fit all cases, except perhaps this:

Know when to be present with the griever.
Know when to let them have space to grieve.

Sometimes filling space with words isn’t necessary.

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