Healing Takes Time - Being There Helps
As we conclude this series focusing on ways you can help someone who is grieving, we'll provide a few more guidelines that will help your friend or family member as they go through the mourning process. Time may indeed heal, but it does so in different ways and speeds. Being there and listening is the greatest support you can give.
Share Your Memories - During the early days after a death, there is a tendency to focus on the survivor, while the survivors are focusing on the one who has died. Relating your memories of the deceased, offers a precious memento and shows not only that you care, but that you have taken the time to understand the magnitude of what they have lost.
Recovery Takes Time - A grieving person will not be "over it" in a matter or weeks or even months. Waves of emotion will sweep in for many months and then slowly, the intensity and frequency subsides. It may be a year before you see a significant recovery from grief. However, if over this time, you notice that there is no change in the level of grief, this may be the time to suggest professional help to assist in learning new ways to cope. However, that it is important to find a professional who is experienced in working with the bereaved. Don't assume that clergy or all counselors are experienced in this area. Keep in mind that a grieving person is under extreme stress, trust him/her to know what is best, but do keep a close eye to make sure the healing process is moving forward.
Know that Your Friend Will Always Remember - A tear may always be shed when a special memory is recalled. Your friend or family member is who he or she is today because of having known and loved the person they lost. Denying the past existence of the deceased denies a part of your friend. Love the past as well as the present and all will be better for it.
Suggestions above were taken from My Careletter and reprinted courtesy of Heartlight Magazine. To receive current copies of My Careletter, please contact us.
LISTENING IS THE GREATEST GIFT
The common theme throughout this series has been to listen. Listening can be the greatest gift you give someone in their time of grief. Keeping feelings of sorrow, frustration, anger and sadness bottled up inside will slow the healing process. The need to tell the story and share those feelings will decrease as healing takes its course. Being there for someone to talk with and really listening helps more than most realize.
Allow The Expression of Guilt: Don't try to rescue people who have feelings of guilt. In most cases, it is really regret - regret that they didn't get to say goodbye, didn't make it that last time to see them, did or said something hurtful, guilt that lives on. These are natural feelings in most cases and once again, just listening and not judging or making them change their mind is the best course.
Let the Survivor Grieve In His/Her Own Way: Placing your own way of dealing with loss onto someone else is usually not going to help. Sometimes people need quiet, solitude, others need company and activity. Avoid being judgmental, but do keep an eye to make sure that the grieving process is moving in the right direction.
Remember Special Days and Times: Try to be aware of special days, times or triggers for someone who is mourning. Marking your calendars for these special days to remind yourself to reach out to your friend or family member can make all the difference in the world.
Suggestions in this blog were taken from My Careletter, a publication to help those who have lost someone. Copies of current issues are available by contacting us. Re-printed courtesy of Heartlight Magazine.