“What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.” – Saint Augustine
I lost both my parents within 3 days of each other and when they died my world came crashing down. I was in shock and so much pain that I could hardly breathe. I continued to feel the pain and grief for many months.
When caring for and supporting someone who is grieving, it is easy to feel helpless. There is no way we can take away the pain and the intensity of their grief and that can be overwhelming for us. I know that many people wanted to help me ease the pain of my grief and only now do I understand that supporting someone who have experienced loss can be difficult.
While there is no perfect way to care for and support someone who is grieving, these 6 guidelines will help you to care for a friend or partner in their time of need.
1. Prepare Yourself To Experience The Physical Pain Of The Persons Grief
Be open to experiencing and feeling that person’s grief. You will have emotions that will arise within you and they should not be held back. If you feel you need to cry, then cry. If the person goes to hug you and holds on to you sobbing don’t pull away, respond and hug them back for as long as it takes for them to release the hug.Advertising
Always be genuine about how you feel and if you don’t know what to say acknowledge it by saying ” I am sorry this has happened to you. I am not sure what to say, but what I want you to know is that I care about you and I am here for you”.
2. Understand The Grieving Process
Experiencing the tragic loss of my parents I learnt that there was a lot more to grief than I had ever known. I did not know that there was a difference between grief and mourning. Grief are the internal thoughts and feelings we experience when someone we love dies. Mourning is taking the internal experience of grief and expressing it outside of ourselves.
Instead of being encouraged to express grief externally, we are told to; “keep your chin up”, “take it day by day'”, “keep yourself busy” or “tomorrow is another day”. Many people as a result feel uncomfortable and so grieve in isolation which is not helpful for the healing process.
If you have not experienced grief and loss you can still support and care for a grieving friend or partner. Spend some time reading and learning about the grieving process. This information will give you a better insight as to how you can help and what help you can offer to a person as they mourn for the loss of their loved one
There is no right or wrong way to grieve however the better you understand grief and how it is healed the better you will know how to help.Advertising
3. Avoid These Statements
I know that people have good intentions and truly cared for me. They wanted to help me when I was grieving however some people did make some totally useless statements in their effort to show their support. These statements only intensified the pain of my grief and made me feel even more isolated. I felt that it was me who was in the wrong and that I was grieving too much! So be aware of the statements you make in your effort to help someone who is grieving.
Here are few statements you should avoid at all costs:
- She or he is in a better place.
- You must be strong.
- He or she are at peace or they lived a good life.
- God must have wanted her or him because she or he was such a good person.
- Everything happens for a reason, life must go on.
- I know exactly how you feel.
- I guess it was his or her time to go.
- Its part of God’s plan.
- Look at what you have to be thankful for.
- This is behind you now – its time to get on with your life.
4. Listen with Compassion
Many people who grieve do not give themselves permission to mourn or receive permission from others to mourn. People tend to view grief as something that needs to be overcome rather than be experienced.
When grief is suppressed and internalised it creates confusion and internal anxiety within a person. Encourage and support your friend or partner to move toward their grief, rather than away from it and to mourn for the person they have lost.
Do not avoid talking about death or mentioning the deceased person. People who are grieving need to feel that their loss is acknowledged and that the person is not forgotten. Check in with your friend or partner to see if they are okay to talk about their loss by asking them, “Do you feel like talking?”Advertising
Accept and acknowledge their feelings and that it is okay for them to get angry, cry or sit in silence. When you care and support a person who is grieving, be willing and comfortable to sit in silence. Having someone who cares and loves them by their side is a key part of the healing process.
5. Offer Practical Support
It is difficult for a grieving person to ask for help. There are many reasons for this, such as having no energy or motivation to ask for help. For me it was because I felt guilty asking for help. I thought that I would be a burden as my friends led such busy lives that they had no time to spare.
If you want to help and support a friend or your partner who is grieving take the initiative and make specific suggestions. For example you could say “I am going to the market this morning. What can I get you?”; “Lets go for a coffee and walk. I will pick you up at…”; “I have made a casserole for your dinner and will drop it off this afternoon”.
6. Provide Ongoing Support
Grief continues for the person long after the funeral. Once my parents funerals were over and everybody had gone home that was when it hit me. Life was back to normal. Children back to school and me back to work. In one week my life had traumatically changed and yet life kept on going. It is at this point when the support and care of friends and family was most important.
If you want to support and care for your friend or partner, be prepared to be there for the long haul. Do not make assumptions about how your friend or partner appears to be on the outside. Avoid saying “you look well” or “you are doing great”. Inside they will be still feeling the pain so ask them “do you feel like talking?” or “what can I do for you?”.Advertising
Take the initiative and be aware that this person’s life will never be the same. You never get over grief, instead you become reconciled to it. Over time you learn to move forward with your life without the physical presence of the person who has died.
With your ongoing support and care, your friend or partner will slowly start to feel more energy to moving forward in their life. They will start talking more positively about life and one day they will acknowledge to you that although their grief was a difficult and painful time, they understand that it is a necessary part of living.
That is when you know you have done an amazing job caring for and supporting someone you love who is grieving. They are now moving forward with their life.
Last Updated on August 20, 2018
60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life
Sometimes it’s easier to focus on what we don’t have, rather than what we do have. It’s important to take time out and remember all of the things to be thankful for that many of us take for granted.
Here you’ll find 60 very solid things to be thankful for in your everyday life. These are great reminders for you to treasure everything you have.
1. Good Health
Even if you’re health isn’t great, it could be worse and you likely still have some working parts to be thankful for.
2. Money in the Bank
Having just a few coins makes you richer than most people on Earth.
3. Good Friends
Often, it’s the quality of friendships, not the quantity.
4. Freedom of Religion
Being able to worship whomever and however you want is something many people don’t ever experience.
5. Your Parents
Even if they’re dysfunctional, they gave you life.
There’s something magical about weekends.
7.Having a Partner
Being in a romantic relationship can teach you so much about the world and yourself.
Pets offer one of the best examples of unconditional love.
9. Learning from Mistakes
If we never made mistakes, we wouldn’t learn much so it is one of those things we should be thankful for.
10. Opportunity to Get an Education
The opportunity to attend school is something many people don’t have.
11. Having a Home
Whether you live in an apartment, a mansion, or a tent, having a place to call home is something to be thankful for.
12. An Ability to Read
If you’re reading this right now, you have a lot to be thankful for.
13. Breathing Fresh Air
Being able to step outside to breathe in fresh air is a good reminder how many little things we should be thankful for.
14. A Bed to Sleep
A bed is one of those things that’s easy to take for granted, until you don’t have one.
Without laughter, the world would be a sad place.
16. Safety and Security
Being able to wake up without immense fear frees us up to really live life.
Without cars, it would take a lot longer to get our activities done.
The sun’s warmth can brighten any day.
Although we often don’t think there’s enough of it, time is something we shouldn’t take for granted.
20. Clean Water
Many people on earth lack access to clean water.
21. Cell Phones
Cell phones make talking to loved ones easy.
The world sure would be a different place if we lacked the ability to love.
Books provide an opportunity to enter another world all from the comfort of your own home.
24. Kindness of Strangers
Never take the kindness of a stranger for granted.
The simplicity of a campfire creates lifelong memories.
Without pain, it would be difficulty to appreciate life’s joys.
The world would be less beautiful if art didn’t exist.
Any reason to celebrate is something we should be thankful for.
29. Freedom of Speech
Being able to express your thoughts and feelings freely should never be taken for granted.
The beauty of a rainbow is unmatched.
Sometimes when there are no words to say, tears express how we feel for us.
32. Waking up Today
Simply waking up today means you have things to be thankful for.
33. Indoor Plumbing
Indoor plumbing not only provides convenience, it spares us from disease.
34. Wisdom that Comes with Age
Thankfully, we grow smarter over time.
Mountains provide us with beauty and recreation.
Being able to see allows us to view the world’s beauty.
37. Grocery Stores
Grocery stores mean we don’t have to spend all of our time getting our own food.
Sunsets are a reminder that we should enjoy the simple things in life.
Entertainment gives us a way to relax and enjoy life.
40. Your Mind
Being able to think, remember, and solve problems sure makes life easier.
Even if you don’t like your job, being employed means someone thought you were special enough to hire.
The world would be a boring place without diversity.
43. Moon and Stars
The moon and stars encourage us to dream.
Electricity makes most of our chores efficient.
45. Air Conditioning
Staying cool on a hot day is something people wouldn’t have dreamed about in past centuries.
Being able to hear your loved one’s voice is something that not everyone gets to do.
Watching children laugh, grow, and dream can keep things in perspective.
48. Ability to Learn
The ability to learn new things means we have endless potential.
49. People Willing to Teach
Whether it’s your grandmother teaching you to knit or your plumber showing you how to prevent future problems, be grateful that others are willing to use their time and talents to teach you something new.
The sea creatures in the ocean almost seem too mystical to be real.
51. Modern Medicine
Without advances in modern medicine, many of us wouldn’t be alive.
Music brings out new emotions.
Some of life’s best inventions resulted from an entrepreneur who was willing to take a risk.
54. Warm Clothing
On a cold day, there’s nothing more important than warm clothing.
55. Freedom to Vote
Being able to have a say in the laws should never be taken for granted.
56. An Internet Connection
It’s hard to believe how easy it is to take the internet for granted, seeing how none of us had just a couple of decades ago.
Without challenges in life, we wouldn’t be the people we are now.
58. Hiking Trails
Hiking trails give us the chance to enjoy mother’s nature beauty.
Many of us wouldn’t be alive without today’s vaccinations.
60. Armed Forces
Our lives would likely be very different if we didn’t have protection from the armed forces.
Realizing all the things you should be thankful for is the first step, practicing gratitude is what you should start doing:
Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com