How do you rise above the norm and make a difference in the life of a griever? What if you wanted to be that better friend or family member to those in your life who go through the grieving process?
Nobody really wants to experience loss, pain, heartache, disappointment, grief or mourning, whether it’s personal or someone else’s experience.
Commonly the dominant method of dealing with grief and loss of others is avoidance. The default ways of coping with grief or consoling the griever tend to be to change the subject, stuff it down, explain it away in an attempt to prevent grief’s symptoms, or try to get away from it quickly. Grief feels uncomfortable, so sidestepping is our first reaction and then perhaps the offer of trite condolences at best, or worse something thoughtless and unintentionally damaging.
Yet grief is best processed with the help of friends or relatives. Grief is as natural as bleeding when you cut your arm, and time and attention is needed to heal. Just as ignoring the cut can lead to infection, so too thwarted grief can cause issues in one’s life, whether evident immediately or later. Some cuts require the aid of others to properly heal.
David Knapp’s personal experience of going through the deep grieving process twice in life did more than temporarily affect him. It motivated him to become a student of what was going on in and around him. He observed how friends and colleagues reacted to the stunning loss of not just one wife to cancer, but his second wife as well, plus the early loss of his parents and other ‘life’ situations. He noted what people did and said that was helpful and what was hurtful.
The knowledge he gained from his observations and research soon drove Knapp to reach out and help others experiencing loss in ways that few had done for him. He began to see that most people, whether friends or family or in professional capacities, really did want to connect with a person in grief, but fear, ignorance or verbal clumsiness held them back. And just like First-Aid 101, there were things that could be learned.
What started as an occasional phone call turned into many requests regarding the grief process, or asking what to say and what NOT to say.
Kindly he’d explain what it was like for him during the grieving process and how he could have been helped. More than one friend admitted, “I didn’t know what to say.”
Born out of these cumulative experiences of helping his immediate family and countless unknown connections across the nation, comes his book, I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO SAY: Being A Better Friend To Those Who Experience Loss.
This is not a typical book on grief. Knapp’s dominant objective for writing his compelling story, interspersed throughout the book, is to help people — young or old, male or female, friend or professional — who find themselves close to a grieving individual. It is his deep desire to empower people to be better friends to the grieving.
His professional background includes many years of teaching. Readers will find that showing through as he shares practical suggestions for dealing with varying kinds of loss. For the hurried reader, there are lists that are helpful. The book offers practical insight and help on how to go through the tumultuous grieving process with others.
Chapters cover losses of pets, divorce, children (by any means), relatives and spouses. He offers helpful insight in understanding gender, cultural and religious differences of people in grief and how those factors affect what one says and does.
Those in mourning will appreciate that he does not side-step the timing of heavy grieving. Empathetically he reassures the griever that in time one can emerge a whole person ready for wherever their journey takes them next.
Grief cannot be avoided. It will knock at your door from time to time throughout your life’s journey. But you can be prepared and you can be a better friend to someone experiencing loss.
“An important and practical book for everyone”
Five Star Review on Amazon By Kathy Gibbens
What an important book! There are many books written for the griever, but few written for the friends of the griever. I think we can all relate to the feeling of wanting to be a help and a comfort when our loved ones hurt, but not knowing what to say or how to say it. This book clears that all up and does so in very practical ways. I especially love the chapter that gives a timeline for helping the person who is experiencing loss and I know I’ll be referring to it often.
You should know that David is my Dad. Yes, that means I’m very proud of him! But it also means I can give you a peek behind the curtains to the man that he is. I have watched him walk through seasons of deep grief and have the courage to face all that it brings. Because he was so open to going through the process, he was able to learn the lessons and can share them with us in such a gracious manner.
Get this book if you have a friend going through a loss of some sort! But even if you tuck it away on your bookshelf for a time, you’ll be so glad to have it when life happens to someone you love, as life has a way of doing.
About the Author
DAVID KNAPP, father of eight, grandfather of 27, has been a student of life experiences, most notably, that of loss. A student and ever the teacher, he does not wallow in grief. Deftly, he sorts through common misconceptions about the grieving process in a variety of categories — spouse, children, infertility, pets, jobs, divorce, etc. With seasoned wisdom he offers practical advice to anyone — young or old, male or female, friend or professional — who finds himself close to a grieving individual. It is his deep desire to empower people to be better friends to the grieving and encourage the heartbroken to go through the process finding relief and regaining a winning attitude for the next chapter or phase of life.
David Knapp is a sought after national speaker including in Britt Worldwide, a marketing associate of the Amway Corporation, and many church group events. He is a published writer: Grit Newspaper; Christian Herald Magazine; Brown Gold Magazine; The Gospel Herald Magazine; and is a regular contributor to Union Gospel Press publications. Knapp has served as an administrator and professor at two junior colleges and currently is a regional public relations director for an international religious non-profit, New Tribes Mission. David Knapp continually works at developing small businesses, including his most recent with Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning which is a member of the Better Business Bureau and his local Chamber of Commerce.
In line with his life-values, David Knapp serves on the advisory board for an international non-profit organization; Kidz at Heart. He has been very active in churches in the Mesa, Arizona area.
David Knapp grew up on a farm in southern Iowa and received his bachelor’s degree in Kansas City and honored by an honorary doctorate degree from a seminary in Tennessee. He has lived in seven states, currently residing in Mesa, AZ. In addition to time with his family, he enjoys reading and fishing. His foreign travels include; Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Ecuador, and the exotic Amazon jungles of Brazil visiting primitive, tribal missionary bases.