We hope the following suggestions
we be helpful to those who wish to learn more about helping
friends and family members who have experienced the death of
someone loved. May these suggestions turn your cares and concerns
into positive actions.
Your presence at the visitation and funeral is important. Remember
giving a hug, holding a hand, giving permission for someone
to cry, or just listening communicates more than any words could
ever say. This is your opportunity to express your love and
concern by paying tribute to a life that has now passed and
is the first and most important step in supporting those who
Trite comments can be extremely painful. There are no simple
solutions to difficult realities. Comments like, " Time
will heal all wounds," "Only the good die young"
"Remember all you have to be thankful for" "Just
be happy he is out of his pain" are not constructive. Instead
they hurt and make the journey through grief more difficult.
LISTEN WITH YOUR HEART
Use your ears to listen without judging or trying to give profound
advice. Those who are grieving have a need to relate the same
story about the death over and over again. Listen attentively
each time. This repetition is a normal part of the healing process
and often they don't find anyone who is willing to listen.
Listen and learn from your friend, don't instruct or attempt
to take away their grief. It is not possible. Never say, "I
know just how you feel"…You don't. Walk with, not
behind, or in front of the one who is bereaved. Recognize tears
are a natural and appropriate expression of the pain associated
with the death.
OFFER PRACTICAL HELP
Your offer of preparing food or assisting with errands in the
weeks following a death are practical ways of showing you care.
The key word is "offer" since while you have a need
to help you should not force your friends to accept your assistance.
Well meaning friends sometimes can do more harm is they insist
on doing too much. Those who are grieving also have a need to
realize that they are still living, breathing, and capable human
beings. A true friend learns when to step in and when to step
AND YES, BE SURE YOU OFTEN
MENTION THE NAME OF THE PERSON WHO DIED. IT IS COMFORTING TO
THE SURVIVORS TO HEAR THE NAME AND BE ASSURED THAT THEIR LOVED
ONE HAS NOT BEEN FORGOTTEN.