How to Help Someone who is Grieving By Dr Bill Webster

I’d love to help but I just don’t know what to say or what I should do.  I am sure many of us can identify with such sentiments.  We hear that a friend or a neighbor has had a loss.  Our hearts immediately go out to them and we long to be of some comfort or assistance but we just don’t know what to do or what to say.  Often because we are afraid or unable to raise the subject we may say nothing.  To the grieving person it may seem as if there is little understanding or support.

Here are eight practical suggestions as to how we can help in a positive and constructive way people who have a loss and support them in their time of need.


1)有.

Our initial reaction is often “What can I do?“这是一个奇妙的故事.  Most of us want to do something to help take away the pain of loss.   People will offer all kinds of practical help such as bringing in food, looking after children and many other examples.  Yet often what is needed is for people to be not just to do.  As helpers we should take the initiative and make contact.  Remember the griever is in shock and isn’t functioning very well.  They may not be able to respond to your sincere offers to “Let me know if there’s anything I can do?”  They may not know what they need.  The first thing is to reach out, establish contact and be there.  Don’t worry about what you’re going to say or do.  It may come as a surprise but I actually remember very little of what was said to me at the funeral home.  What I do remember is that certain people were there and their presence made all the difference.  只是做你自己.  The gift of presence is most important to people in grief.


2)请听.

One of the healthy things in the days before a funeral is the opportunity for people to talk about the dead person and the events surrounding the death.  Unfortunately that process often ends shortly after the funeral service.  Research has shown that the most significant factor in the failure of grief resolution is the absence or inappropriateness of social support.  Put simply people need to talk … which means others need to listen.  In fact it is better to say people need to talk and talk and have repeated opportunities to review and relive the person’s life and death.  You may find they repeat the same story over and over.  鼓励这种.  Difficult as it may be for the listener because each reliving of these events is another strand of the chord that is cut.  Care enough to find out about the person’s grief.  Give them permission to talk with questions like: Can you tell me a little about the death?  发生了什么事?  跟我说说他/她.  你们是怎么认识的?  他/她怎么样?  What has been happening since the death?  你觉得怎么样?  你感觉怎么样??  What are some of the struggles or challenges?   Know when to close your mouth and when to open your ears.  Simple listening skills such as maintaining eye contact, leaning forward and nodding your head can encourage the griever to open up.  The unspoken messages “You’re important and what you are saying is important, and I want to hear everything you’re telling me.”


3)      Interpret “Normal” Behaviour.

It is important to understand what grief is and how it manifests itself.  Only then will we know what is normal.  悲伤 is an emotional response to a significant loss.  It manifests itself in many different ways, in greater or lesser degrees and in various combinations. In simple terms, grief is unpredictable. This is what makes normality so difficult to define or neatly package. 什么是正常的? Why can two different people react to grief in completely different ways and both be considered normal?  Our grief response is a unique blending of numerous emotions. 其中包括震惊, 难以置信, 麻木, 哭, 混乱, 焦虑, 抑郁症, 内疚, 愤怒, 孤独, 绝望, 悲伤, 无助, 挫折, 易怒, 怨恨, 乏力, 睡眠中断, 身体症状, 和降低,自我尊重. 所有这些情绪都是正常的. 人在悲伤, not understanding this emotional explosion they may be experiencing often think they are going crazy. 他们不是! 他们是正常的. They may need some help to work through all their feelings, but that’s OK. You may not be a doctor or a psychologist, but if you can help people to see they are normal in their feelings of grief, 你会带来最好的药. By the way there are other messages in this series that will help you understand the grief process more fully.


4)让悲伤情绪合法化.

I try never to say “I know how you feel” to anyone, because I don’t. 我怎么知道他们的感受. All I know is how I felt when grief touched my life. People say these words with good intentions, but the grieving person often does not appreciate them. To say I know how a person feels somehow minimizes their experience. 只有悲伤者才会失去. 悲伤的感觉是独一无二的, influenced by many factors around the relationship, 和环境. 确定, 我失去了妻子, and I remember how that felt…but someone else may be feeling something quite different, 皇冠体育App需要证实这一点. We need to let the person know it is OK to grieve. 悲伤 is confusing to people for many reasons. It manifests itself in some seemingly unusual and uncharacteristic behaviors. The messages people sometimes get is that they should “be strong” . They may be looking for permission to grieve. They are asking us in hidden ways if it is safe to express to us what they are REALLY feeling. To tell a person NOT to cry when tears fill the eyes is to deny permission to grieve. 说他们必须坚强, 或者生活必须继续, or even to quickly change the subject to something more cheerful, gives the message that the grief and the feelings are not acceptable to us. Maybe we are simply saying we can’t handle it, which is fair enough. 但如果皇冠体育App真的想成为支持者, we need to assure them that we don’t mind if they cry, 或者咆哮, 或显示愤怒, or display any of the emotions associated with grief. Let people know that you accept them as they are in this time…that you accept their weakness and vulnerability…that you are not trying to “fix” them or indicating they should be doing better. There is often a critical moment between friends when the voice cracks, 嘴抖抖, 泪水涌上眼眶. 在那一刻, 少说话或不说话, 但接触, 接触的人, perhaps by a gentle hand on the arm, and let them know that it is OK to let it go and express the grief that is being felt.


5)容忍愤怒的回应.

Be prepared for the fact that you may be the focus of some angry reactions or outbursts. It is not necessarily a reflection on you or the things you are attempting to do. Don’t get angry in return or give up on the person when this happens. The problem with 愤怒 is that it doesn’t always get focused in the right direction. Grievers may be angry with doctors, ministers, funeral directors, friends…in fact almost anyone. And they are angry for one simple reason. We cannot give them what they want the most. Namely the return of the person they have lost. Something has happened that cannot be changed, much as we would like to. The feelings of 无助 around such a situation lead people to be angry. They are angry because they have been left. But where do they focus that 愤怒. On whoever happens to be in the line of fire when the 挫折 overflows. 皇冠体育App得说清楚. The person is not angry at us, hard as it may be to be objective. We have to be realistic about the help we can offer. We cannot take the pain away from the person. Despite our best efforts, we cannot rectify the situation to their satisfaction. That does not mean we can do nothing…it just means we have to be realistic.


6)给悲伤者希望.

While not minimizing the pain and difficulty of grief, we need to give the griever hope. Hope that someday the pain will subside. Hope that life will have meaning again. Hope that God has a purpose in all this, even though we may not see it right now. Hope that someday life will make sense again. Such a feeling of hope will bring comfort, the realization that things will get better, and that they will find the grace and the strength to carry on.  This is why support groups can be so helpful. They show people whose loss is recent that others have survived the anguish and the agony, and are finding new meanings for their life. While the newly bereaved may not feel it at the time, seeing that there is a possibility of recovery is a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel. Giving the mourner hope involves constantly reassuring them that as long as they work at it with courage, the pain will subside and life will go on. It may be a reminder that strength is often made perfect in weakness. But the confidence we place in the person that they will make it will give them courage and confidence in times when self doubts assail.


永远记住, 悲伤需要时间.  Not everyone goes through the same process, and none at the identical pace. More often than not, grief takes much more time than society has realized or allowed. We have often forced unrealistic expectations on people who have had a loss. We expect them to be “over it in a relatively short time. While it is commonly accepted that the intense reactions of grief will subside within six to twelve months, it is also widely acknowledged that some things may take years to be resolved. It is up to the grieving person to set the pace for their own journey. We of their friends and family can only walk with them on that journey. We can’t fix people or try to make their decisions for them, or try to set the pace for their journey. 但皇冠体育App可以和他们在一起. We can walk alongside and let them know they are not alone. They have a friend, and they will be thankful for that and for us. We will have made a difference in someone’s life.


And, after all that is the greatest reward.