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Newsletters: Understanding the Grieving Process­ So You Can Help Others
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Understanding the Grieving Process­ So You Can Help Others

Joan Bishop

Most of us have no training in or knowledge of what to do to help people who have lost loved ones. I didn’t, but I do now. From my own experience, the conversations with and postings I’ve read from the Nobles, and what I’ve gleaned from the several articles in front of me, I’ve gained knowledge. I hope I can provide you with practical information to help you understand the journey.

Helping people grieve is a long process. Attending the memorial service is an obvious first step, but there is a marathon ahead. First and foremost, consider what you might do to keep a memory alive. The grieving are always concerned that their loved one not be forgotten. Mention the person’s name, share a story, plant a tree, or frame a photo and pass it along. For me, hearing my daughter Julie’s name is a precious gift. Five years after her death, sharing a story brings me much joy. The Nobles find comfort in talking to others about their son Kyle; they would like to hear stories and look at photos others have. It’s indescribably healing.

It’s important to say something to those who are grieving. Even if you begin by saying that you don’t know what to say, say something and allow them to take the conversation further. People may laugh or cry—and it’s important to realize that if they cry, it isn’t because you have hurt them. Death is the source of the tears. Sharing their grief is a sign of friendship and it is much appreciated. Don’t be afraid.

 

How You Can Help

In the beginning, you will probably notice that things need to be done. Askwhen you can help as opposed to how you can help. People who are grieving are exhausted, confused, unorganized. Asking for help is not easy. If you see that their lawn needs mowing, you might just begin the task without asking. On the other hand, you might see your grieving friends mowing the lawn constantly. If this is the case, you might insist that they sit down with you to relax. They might say no at first. Keep asking.

They might not feel like talking, but accepting them as they are and helping them pass the time is so very important. Anything and everything that you do is extremely helpful and appreciated. They’re sad and lonely. Just keep them occupied and included.

Try learning more about the grieving process. The Web site www.compassionatefriends.org offers a lot of information, especially regarding the loss of a child. Understand that all of the grief reactions you notice are very normal. Depression, anger, frustration, hopelessness, and overwhelming sadness are all to be expected.

Grieving lasts a lifetime. Although people will tell you that they are “doing okay,” they will never get over the death of a loved one. They simply learn how to deal with it. And understanding the process can help you help others.

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5/6/2017
Oley Regional Conference

This website is an educational resource. It is not intended to provide medical advice or recommend a course of treatment. You should discuss all issues, ideas, suggestions, etc. with your clinician prior to use. Clinicians in a relevant field have reviewed the medical information; however, the Oley Foundation does not guarantee the accuracy of the information presented, and is not liable if information is incorrect or incomplete. If you have questions please contact Oley staff.

 

Updated in 2015 with a generous grant from Shire, Inc. 

 

This website was updated in 2015 with a generous grant from Shire, Inc. This website is an educational resource. It is not intended to provide medical advice or recommend a course of treatment. You should discuss all issues, ideas, suggestions, etc. with your clinician prior to use. Clinicians in a relevant field have reviewed the medical information; however, the Oley Foundation does not guarantee the accuracy of the information presented, and is not liable if information is incorrect or incomplete. If you have questions please contact Oley staff.
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