Helping others cope with grief isn't so difficult. For the bereaved sharing grief with a close friend or family member can be a
A dear friend always said, “If you put everyone’s troubles in the middle of the street, you would soon take yours back again.”
Somehow our own troubles are easier to cope with, than someone else’s imagined pain. But don’t be frightened that what someone else is dealing with is too difficult for you to help them with. Someone who has suffered a loss doesn’t need an expert, or someone to pity them, or tell them how awful they must be feeling.
What they want is someone who treats them normally. Just be practical. If you don’t know what to say, just tell them you don’t know what to say. Just give them a hug. Just make a cup of tea. But don’t desert them. As they say - "A grief shared is a grief halved".
Everyone grieves in a different way. Some people are numb and in shock. They can't cry for months, and then the floodgates open. Others cry constantly. Be prepared for numbness, or non-stop talking, or mood swings, tears or anger. It's a roller coaster of emotions.
Some people may seem to be coping very well and not show any emotion. Don't imagine that they are grieving any less. They need just as much support.
Don't be afraid to tell the bereaved you are sorry and talk about the deceased. Anecdotes from friends about experiences they shared with the loved one can be a great comfort. So many people are afraid to even mention their names. Share the grief, talk, help and share some tears.
“If you want to help, bring me food, otherwise go away” is how Stephanie Ericcson felt when she was grieving. Sometimes people won't want to talk, but need practical help. Just be there to do the shopping, some cleaning, answer the door, cook the food, and listen if the bereaved do want to talk.
Sometimes during early bereavement, when people are in shock, they may look normal, and say they are fine. They will be numb and not at the stage where they are feeling the full force of their grief. You need to consider what they might need. Are they fit to drive? You can help by taking them to appointments, doing some shopping or cooking.
Often people who are grieving lose confidence and become anxious about things they were quite capable of doing before. They might need help with banking, driving, even simple tasks like shopping. They may find it hard to concentrate on things. So the help of friends during this time is essential.
So don't worry if you don't know what to say, actions speak louder than words.
Approve of new friendships. Don't be critical if the friendship is with the opposite sex, it may well be platonic and in any case, any new friendship is a good thing. Many bereaved re-marry in the first year of their loss. This is a compliment to the deceased. It often means their marriages were so happy they want to re-create it with a new partner.
Please support the new relationship, attend the wedding, and wish your friend or family member well. The deceased would not have wanted them to be miserable for good. Just because they re-marry does not mean they loved the deceased less or will ever forget them. This is a new chapter in their life and is truly deserved after the sad loss of a loved one. It's amazing how new partners can split up families who think it's too soon or in someway disrespectful. Why is that?
Life is precious to all of us and we should grasp happiness where we can.
Share in their pleasure.
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