Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Grief Class - Week 3

I can't believe I'm still showing up to this class. These people are wonderful and so understanding that grieving takes time. Therefore, today, I want to share what I learned today:

When we are reaching out to the bereaved it is often common to feel helpless. It is sometimes hard to know what to say that might prove comforting to the bereaved person. Often in our discomfort we fall back on cliches. While well meant, they are often not helpful and sometimes anger producing for the grieving person.

I'll share a few:

  • I know just how you feel
  • Time heals
  • Think about how happy he is in heaven
  • We cannot truly know what another person feels.
  • Time alone does not heal the pain.
  • While the bereaved may well believe in heaven, the pain of missing that person is still very real.
  • This has to be a hard time for you. Does it help to talk about him?
  • We cared about him too. Can we talk about him?
  • Grieving people have told me it helps to talk about the person who died.

  • It will take two or three months to get over your grief.
  • Your grief will lessen in time.
  • You need to get on with your life.

These types of statements put limits on a person's grief. Each of us needs to grieve in our own way and in our own time.

  • I hope others are not trying to hurry you through your grief.
  • This must be a very hard time for you.
  • I have heard that each person grieves in their own way and in their own time.

  • God needed him in heaven.
  • It was God's will.
  • God does not give you more than you can handle.

These statements assume that we know God's will.

  • It must be hard to understand why these things happen.
  • Sometimes these things are just not fair.
  • There is no way to justify why this happened.
NOTE: True support does not mean that we are there to cheer the person up. Rather, we are there to be present to the bereaved. The gift of listening is powerful. Many bereaved people need to talk about the death over and over again. Other times the bereaved may need to be quiet. Allow for the silence. Your presence alone can be comforting.

True effective support is not dependent upon how much we say but rather on our presence and how effectively we listen.

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