Submitted by: Audrey Pellicano
If you are grieving a loss you can pass this information onto friends, family and, those well-intentioned folks looking to support you during your grief. If you are a family member or friend to someone living through grief, then perhaps the suggestions will be of help. When we’ve lost a loved one, we want to talk about them, remember them and have others say their name. Although they may no longer be in our physical presence, the relationships we have with our loved ones do not end, they change.
I’m sure you’ve heard many different “supportive statements” that have been less than helpful after a loss. I hope that these guidelines, these warm, caring and open questions, will give you the space that you need to speak about how you feel or open to door for those living with a loss.
What is it you would like to hear that would support you? What would you want people to say when you’re having a really bad day? What would you want people to say when you’re having a really good day? When would you like people to say nothing? We’re basically reeducating and teaching people how to be supportive to a person who has suffered a personal loss. You may be saying, “don’t I have enough on my plate? Why do I have to be their teacher? Why don’t they just know”? They don’t know because just like you, we’ve been taught over the course of our lives, how not to grieve and mostly what are the least helpful things to say.
These are some supportive statements;
1.I can’t imagine how you feel.
2.This must be so difficult for you.
3.Can I take you out for a cup of coffee?
4.I don’t know what to say.
5.You must miss them terribly.
6.What I remember most about John was _____________
7.Can I give you a hug?
8.Can I call you next week to talk?
9.Do you want to talk about how you feel today?
10.Or say nothing!
Have you ever sat in silence with someone who is hurting? Just holding a space for them, a safe supportive place where they can just be. It’s quite a challenge for most people because many people are “fixers”. No one can fix a broken heart except the person who owns it.
These are a few helpful suggestions, however as each of us is unique in our grief, some of these statements may feel more right to you than others. Even those of us who have lost a loved one can be tongue-tied when we are looking for the right words to support someone else. In reality there are no words that make, what has become and upside down world, better after a loss. However, we do want to acknowledge our awkwardness around a subject that has been avoided and one that we, as a society, have never been able to accept is, a part of life.
About the Author: Audrey is a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist and Health Coach. Having been widowed at the age of 37 with 4 young children, she initially sought out the assistance of those professionals she thought might be able to help, but who in fact had no experience in working with a young widow with years of raising children ahead of her. Experiencing the absence of support in the traditional system, Audrey pursued complimentary therapies and earned certification in Guided Imagery, Yoga, Meditation, Nutrition and Grief Recovery and implemented those tools through her own grief journey. She helps women who have experienced loss move through the grief and being moving forward in their lives. Audrey works virtually with clients one-on-one and provides group telephone programs on Grief Recovery and Healthy Living After Loss. You can see her upcoming programs atwww.wisewidow.com. Audrey speaks to corporations on the subject of grief in the workplace and how to support employees returning to work after a loss and provides training for managers, human resources and co-workers. Audrey launched the first Death Cafe’ in NYC on February 20th and was featured in theJune 17th edition of The New York Times http://goo.gl/5sgYe. Audrey also had the NY Times Quotation of the Day for June 17th 2013, “Death and grief are topics avoided at all costs in our society. If we talk about them, maybe we won’t fear them as much.” She is the author of “Six Secrets to Surviving Widowhood”. http://www.wisewidow.com or Contact Audrey at 914-703-2688 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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