Monday, February 23, 2009

Helping a grieving person: Provide ongoing support

Grieving continues long after the funeral is over and the cards and flowers have stopped. The length of the grieving process varies from person to person. But in general, grief lasts much longer than most people expect. Your bereaved friend or family member may need your support for months or even years.
Continue your support over the long haul. Stay in touch with the grieving person, periodically checking in, dropping by, or sending letters or cards. Your support is more valuable than ever once the funeral is over, the other mourners are gone, and the initial shock of the loss has worn off.
Don’t make assumptions based on outward appearances. The bereaved person may look fine on the outside, while inside he or she is suffering. Avoid saying things like “You are so strong” or “You look so well.” This puts pressure on the person to keep up appearances and to hide his or her true feelings.
The pain of bereavement may never fully heal. Be sensitive to the fact that life may never feel the same. You don’t “get over” the death of a loved one. The bereaved person may learn to accept the loss. The pain may lessen in intensity over time. But the sadness may never completely go away.
Offer extra support on special days. Certain times and days of the year will be particularly hard for your grieving friend or family member. Holidays, family milestones, birthdays, and anniversaries often reawaken grief. Be sensitive on these occasions. Let the bereaved person know that you’re there for whatever he or she needs.


Sheila said...

Dearest Jen: That is so well written, & so very true !!
Thankyou for sharing !

I just lost my hubby 22 mos ago, & while I'm sure the grief is different with a child/baby, there are so very many similarities.
And no, it doesn't get any better with time, if anything, just slightly worse.

If you would like our story, just let me know.

May our Lord & Saviour embrace you daily. Remember too, that He will never leave us, nor forsake us.
Nothing & no one, can snatch us from His strong & gentle hands!

michigan_herrs said...

Hi Jen ~ You are in our thoughts and prayers! Thank you for the link about the ice cream fundraiser. Kevin still hasn't gotten his wish yet from Make a Wish. He wants a couple of large fish tanks. I am worried about paying for the upkeep right now as things are pretty bleak up here in Michigan. So I am trying to wait until his dad is starting to make money again and we know if my job is going to last or not.

I wish I could just give you a hug and help your days not seem so long.