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Grief Support: The Don?ts
1) Don't try to make the grieving person feel better. YOU CANNOT. For many grievers it only serves to make them feel guilty or worse. Grievers MUST experience the pain of grief for healing to ultimately occur.
2) Don't tell the griever to give it time. Time has stopped for the griever. Life proceeds in slow motion. Life is too surreal to be identified with time.
3) Don't try to divert the griever's attention away from their pain by talking about something else. If you do, when you exit their presence, the reality will generally hit all the harder. Also, it may seem to the grieving that you are uncomfortable with them talking to you about their grief. If they sense this, they will alienate themselves from you.
4) Don't be afraid to talk about the person who has died by name. If it makes you uncomfortable, it may want to assess your preparedness for helping. To recover from grief, the griever must have a realistic picture of the dead.
5) Don't be frightened by tears?the griever's or your own. Tears are apertures of release and help the griever express their sorrow in healthy ways with your presence as a cushion of warmth and empathy.
6) Don't be concerned about saying the right things. Let the grieving person talk. Just listen and encourage their talking. Your presence is more meaningful than anything you can say.
7) Don't argue with grieving individuals. Instead, reassure. You may hear statements such as, "I wish I had done this or had been more considerate" and so forth. Reassure them that they did what they could have done at the time not knowing _______ (name of deceased) would die when he/she did.
8) Don't use euphemisms and flowery language. Generally, it only makes the situation seem more artificial and unreal. For example, don't say "passed away" or "expired" when you mean "died." The griever need to hear "dead."
9) Don't be afraid of silence. Silence on the helpers part show that you do not have all the answers and do not feel the need to pretend that you do. Furthermore, it gives grievers time to process thought and express feelings.
10) Don't make general statements of help such as "If you need me, give me a call." Chances that they will call are almost nil. Instead, be specific. For example, tell them about a group support group being conducted in their area; or tell them you will stop by next week to see if there is some housework you can help them with; or ask if you can bring dinner by tomorrow.
11) Don't isolate grievers. Don't cut your conversation or visit short because you are uncomfortable or because you are too busy. (Never look at your watch or the clock in their presence). Be ready with gentle words and a listening ear. Your sincerity and concern is the best proof to the griever that he/she still has resources to draw from.
12) Don't become impatient. Many grievers ramble on and on and repeat themselves in their shock and confusion. Supporting with patience, empathy and compassion reveals your care.
13) Don't be judgmental or rejecting. Grievers are hurting badly. They do not need your judgments and abandonment at this difficult time in their lives.
14) Don't tell grieving people you know how they feel. YOU DON'T. Even though many helpers have also experienced loss due to death, each experience is different and felt differently. Your pain is never someone else's pain.
15) Don't let your own needs determine the experience for the griever.
16) Don't push the bereaved into new relationships before they are ready. They will let you know when they are open to new experiences.
17) Don't impose your value system on the bereaved. Your beliefs or ways of doing things may not be theirs.
18) Don't elaborate on your personal experiences of loss to the bereaved.
19) Don't let the griever forget their children's grief and special needs during this time.
20) Don't be afraid to touch, hold, hug (etc.) the griever. The feelings generated is worth more than a thousand words.
Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. http://www.clergyservices4u.org She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: A Grief Healing Workbook, will be available soon.
One Stray Tear
The delight lit my face as the couple turned the corner into the hallway where we stood in lively conversation. I threw my arms open wide, ignored the cell phones plastered to their ears, greeted each of them, first the husband then the wife who followed slightly behind him.
Am I a Mother - Tips for Handling Mother?s Day After Miscarriage
Are you spending this Mother's Day wondering if you are, in fact, a mother? 900,000-1 million women in the U.S. alone face this question every year after suffering pregnancy loss. "For women who experience a miscarriage during their first pregnancy, the question of motherhood is an even greater one," says Lisa Church of HopeXchange, a company dedicated to the support of women and their families facing pregnancy loss.
Euthanasia: How Will I Know When its Time?
Pippin needed assistance from his owner to get to his feet. He slowly walked to the door, then needed help once again to step down onto the back porch. With a slight groan, he squatted to relieve himself and came back towards the house. There was no twinkle in his eye, and this time he needed to be carried all the way back to his bed. He'd used up his energy for that day.
Adapting to the Loss of a Loved One: Three Tips on how to Cope
Have you ever sat down and played a piano where one of the keys wasn't working? Or made cookies and left out an ingredient? Perhaps you've started listening to a favorite CD, and just when it gets to your favorite part of your favorite song, you realize that there is a scratch in it.
The Truth About Emotional Intelligence
There is so much emphasis on emotional intelligence these days that it appears that people are suppressing their emotions and problems in an effort to "fit in," to keep their jobs, and using "positive self-talk" to muscle through the rough spots in their lives.
Are We All Losers? Understanding Grief
The well-known pioneer researcher Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified five states through which the dying patient goes. It is also true that the recently bereaved and the about to be bereaved evidence the same stages. Kubler Ross has labeled the 5 stages denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. People do not necessarily go through these stages in any set order or over a set length of time, nor does the individual necessarily pass through each of the stages. Most controversial is the final stage of acceptance. Kubler-Ross believes that all of us come to accept death as it approached, but other researchers do not agree. Westberg, for example believe, as do the writer, that we come to a point of living with the loss. Let's now review the 10 stages of grief as defined by Westberg. If you have or can access his tiny book entitled, Good Grief, it would help you to understand each stage in more depth than the writer will go.
Who has the Worst Pain
During the 28 years I have been interacting with bereaved people, one of the most frequent questions I have been asked is, "Who has the worst pain?" Do bereaved parents suffer more than widows and widowers? Do children whose parents die feel more agony than children who lose a sibling? Is it harder to watch a loved one suffer for a long time before death releases the victim than it is to answer the doorbell or the phone at midnight and suddenly hear the news of tragedy? Is suicide worse than homicide? Is the death of an "older" child more difficult to grieve than the death of a newborn or infant?
Dying? Not Me! Why You Should Plan for Transition
Remember the Eulogy projects we had to write back in High School? Death is a tough subject to broach, and many would rather deny death then embrace it. Someone once said, "...There are only two guarantees in life: Death and Taxes." How true is this phrase? It is normally when we are faced with the imminence of dying or death that we only begin making plans or arrangements for our transition.
When Change Comes (Dealing With Grief and Loss)
Needless to say, the time after loss is volatile and confusing for most people. Unresolved issues come to the fore and questions we have not answered must often be confronted. Along with a sense of abandonment and sorrow, anger often arises. Most have little understanding of what they are going through, or what to expect in the future. Facing the unknown can produce additional fear.
Terminal Illness- Death and Grief
No one likes to think about illness and death, when we are well, we feel invincible and there is nothing that can prepare us for the shock and devastation of a terminal diagnosis. The knowledge that we can no longer take our lives or the lives we share with our loved ones for granted takes away our ability to plan for the future and removes hope from our lives. When a loved one becomes terminally ill, we grieve in anticipation of their death, we grieve for the loss of them in our lives and we grieve for our own mortality.
Like it or not, we think in line with our customs and tradition often times, right down to the level of how we think of death, or about death. I was a licensed counselor for many years, and the issue came up a few times, and I was sad at its results, to hear Americas shamefully trying to avoid talking about it. But let me put that aside and finish the article. Yes customs and traditions set down; do play a big part in how we view death. Death being a normal and natural thing; we mimic our parents and our TV heroes, and how they portray death. Why so much gloom out there on death [?] It has been around for a long time, as long as I've been around anyhow, fifty-seven years. It is often a taboo subject to talk bout it in certain places. But you can see a lot of books on the subject; more than I can count.
How My Four Your Old Son Reacted To The Death Of His Great Nanny Biscuits
My nan was called Margaret and lived until the age of eighty eight. Unfortunately she died in hospital and this article describes how my son reacted to the news of her death. His reaction basically put a smile back onto my face again.
Lessons We Learned From Terri Schiavo
Let's talk about Terry Schiavo, since her death illustrated for me many aspects of grief and hope. Who among us was not moved by the drama of her last days? I know I was. Her death was not the way I would want my own death to be. When my time comes, I want no heroic measures, since for me they simply postpone the inevitable. And watching the family feud that took place between her husband and her parents, with all the tension and the anger, saddened me terribly. Peace should be the last emotion Terry felt, but who knows if she heard only the angry words passed between those she loved. No one should have to die as she did.
Trial by Fire - 9 Tips for Grieving Couples
You will often hear that grief and loss bring couples together, but it can actually do just the opposite. It is possible to emerge on the other side of grief with a closer marriage, but it does take work.
Physiological Consequences of Carrying Emotional Trauma
Although many of us carry some form of emotional trauma in our bodies, and therefore in our energy fields, do we ever really stop to question the impact that it is having on our overall health? If you are like most individuals you probably just want to forget its even there. The thought of revisiting it probably just makes you feel sick.
You Have to Show Up: On Small Miracles (Okay, maybe not so small)
I hadn't intended to go to my cousin's funeral.
Online Monument ? An Ever-lasting Tribute to Your Departed Loved Ones
Memories are never to be buried along with the loss of our very loved ones. To be forever remembered as someone whom we always love, they always should be.
How Long Does It Take to Mend a Broken Heart?
Julian Austin, Canadian country singer, released a song called Should Be Over You. He sings, How long does it take to mend a broken heart? After the heartache and tears, lonely and hurting, one night stands and drinking ain't working, and missing you has near killed me a time or two, then after that I should be over you."
My dearest Grandma, I will never forget you & sorry that I was not there with you when you passed.
Beyond A Mothers Nightmare To Radical Forgiveness
It was a moment I will never forget.
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