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A Grieving Friend: Lending a Helpful Hand

September 07, 2017

Grieving Is Personal

By: Cathy Young MA, LPC, Grief Counselor

The response to losing a loved-one is very personal. Everyone feels, acts, and needs something a little different... there is no right way to grieve. Remember, you never "get over" grief, the hope is to create a new normal.

Do

  • Stay present and be a good listener - many people will repeatedly share a treasured moment that they shared with person that just passed. Try not to be a solver. Sometimes they just need your presence without any conversation. Active listening is always the ticket.
  • Use the deceased name - it may feel awkward but avoidance is actually more painful. While they are no longer here physically, they will always remain their loved-one's lives.
  • Set-up a successful get-together - consider an activity such as a walk, going to a movie, concert, or sporting event. Offer to help with a task, errand, or meal. Avoid open ended questions like "what can I do?". Instead consider: "can I bring you a meal?" or "can I pick up your dry cleaning?".
  • Allow your friend space and time - do not feel you need to keep them busy or their mind occupied. Understand that some people need some alone time, which is different than isolation.

Don't

  • Don't judge, give advice, or compare your own experience with theirs - every person grieves differently and in their own time.
  • Avoid "should", "shouldn't", or cliche statements - "she/he is in a better place" or "you should get out". Words don't heal grieving... say less and do more.
  • Don't send (too many) flowers - having a house full of flowers may seem like an uplifting gesture, but flowers are in a constant state of dying. Donations, meals, or a condolence comfort care package from Dr. Don's Care Packages will be most meaningful.
"Grief never ends...But it changes. It's a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith...It is the price of love."                          
- Unknown



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