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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.

MAKE CONTACT
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 grieve.

AVOID CLICHES
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.

BE COMPASSINATE
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 back.

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.

 

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