Home > love, relationships > How to help a friend that is grieving

How to help a friend that is grieving

September 5, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

A post from my friend, John, five months after the death of his wife.  He is trying to explain how people can help.  I only made slight edits from his original post.  Here is how you can help someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one:

  • Remember – Share your memories of the one who has died–even if you’re sad.  What do you remember about her? Don’t be afraid to speak about the loved one because you want to make your friend sad.  As John said, “I do sad really well and it actually encourages me when people talk about her in natural ways and in normal conversation.”
  • Acknowledge – In the first year after death, there are many significant days. John pleads, “Please acknowledge them. My heart, even if my head misses it, “marks” these days.  It helps to have people say something, remember, be there.”
  • Share – Share with your friend when you miss their loved one.  Sharing our losses with our friend can mean a lot to them. As John said, I learn that “I’m not alone in the loss, others experience her loss too.”
  • Enter – “It helps to have people who will enter my loss, confusion and pain.  Listening, just being present really make a difference.  Silence to protect me or to avoid the awkwardness of talking about my wife’s death adds to my loneliness and isolation.  I would much prefer to weep and be sad than to be left alone emotionally.”

Powerful words.  Thank you John for these deep glimpses into your soul.

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  1. September 6, 2010 at 3:01 am

    Great post. We can’t say these things often enough especially since what helps the most doesn’t come naturally to many. Being present and listening can be really hard. Not knowing what to do or say leads to avoidance and adds to the sense of loss, while all the stupid things people say makes that solitude look good. Thanks for adding to the conversation on this topic.

    • September 7, 2010 at 3:02 am

      Appreciate the visit and compliment but as I noted these words come out of lessons learned from the deep pain of losses experienced by a friend.

  1. September 30, 2010 at 3:44 am

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