Today we are looking at grief and how to respond to another person's loss of a friend, family member or loved one. Unfortunately, during this period, many people are at a loss for what to say, so they simply say nothing at all. Part of the reason for this is that individuals feel awkward and at a loss for what to say. Some feel they do not want to further upset someone. Still, others wish to avoid any unpleasantness, and they choose to say nothing at all.
In today's world, an individual's grief is also centered around the typical three days given to travel, visitation and life celebration, followed by a return to work and other "normal" activity. Anyone who has experienced significant loss of a loved one, knows that oftentimes the grieving has rarely begun. The days, months and even years ahead are when the "real grieving" takes place. It is during this time that one might often hear it is time to "get over," "move on," "let go" or "get closure" for the loss. All of these terms tend to imply that one can easily compact a loved one's life into a neat and tidy package that one can then place on a shelf and bring down on occasion for a memory or two. Those who have experienced the death of a loved one, know that this is virtually impossible to do.
Therefore, I encourage everyone to take a different approach to loss. DO contact a person grieving the loss of a loved one. During this initial period, people tend to feel isolated and further alone. Not only has someone lost a significant person in his or her life, they are then further separated from their support system. By reaching out to someone grieving, you are acknowledging both the value of the deceased loved one as well as the worth of the bereaved. Both lives are equally important. The simple act of companionship and support does much more than a thousand words could ever do. Spend time together over a cup of coffee or bring a prepared casserole. Offer to babysit for a much-needed night out. Any act of kindness will be appreciated more than you will ever know.
Most importantly, speak about the loved one people are grieving. Share fond memories. Remembering an individual is one of the greatest honors one can give another person grieving their loss. Include those memories at special occasions such as wedding anniversaries and holidays. By honoring our loved ones, we keep their memories alive and they continue to live in our hearts.
Also, remember we are here for you in the days and months ahead. You do not walk this path alone. Please feel free to contact us as you progress this journey.