• How to Help Others Who Are Grieving

    Posted on April 19, 2012 by Cynthia Gossman in Uncategorized.

    From one perspective: Being the one with the grieving heart

    Soon after my husband died, I can remember being asked a lot of confusing questions.

    • “How are you?” (I would think to myself – hmmmm do you really want to know or should I say what I think you want to hear)
    • “What do you need?” (I have no friggin’ clue how to answer that one… I need my loved one back…. can you do that ?)
    • “Are you going to move/sell the house?” (What kind of question is that, I have three kids, why would I uproot them and add to their loss, and that’s the last thing on my mind)
    • “How are the kids?” (I don’t know, they are all at different ages and stages and I am so overwhelmed with my own grief I find it difficult to be there as a Mom and a Dad let alone being able to keep enough strength to console them)
    • “Are you going to keep your job and continue to work?” ( Well, duh!  I have to support my family)
    • “What can I do to help?” (I don’t know…. bring him back, hold me, cry with me…)

    From another perspective: Being the bereavement educator and advocate

    Most of us human beings want to help in some way, shape and form.  But we don’t know what to say or what to do.  It’s awkward, uncomfortable and unfamiliar.  Some don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so they choose to say nothing which is most hurtful because then the person with the grieving heart feels you are ignoring them or abandoning them.  Some want to say something, but what ends up coming out isn’t always the best thing and then the realization of saying something wrong comes and feelings are hurt.

    Some Healing Solutions:

    To the Grieving Heart:

    • Give yourself permission to be yourself, feel your grief and express your mourning
    • Surround yourself with people who will indeed listen and not judge
    • Breathe.  Take moment by moment and just breathe
    • Reach out for help – whether it’s a support group or a personal grief coach – all of those friends who said, “call if you need ANYTHING…” Call them!  They really want to help and they don’t know what or how to do so.

    To the People Who Want to Comfort the People with the Grieving Heart:

    • Listen to the grieving hearts story without judgement, qualifying or the need to give answers to all of the why’s
    • Ask what time shall I come over and sit with you tomorrow
    • Babysit for a couple of hours
    • Pick up some toilet paper, paper plates, plastic utensils, and napkins without being asked
    • Show up for a visit and if the sink is full of dishes wash them, run the vacuum, mow the lawn
    • Stay in touch… 3 weeks, 6 months, a year or two down the road.  Let your friend with the grieving heart know you remember.

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