The Funeral Is Over....
friends and neighbors are supportive of the Bereavement and Grief
process at the time of a death, during the
wake and funeral. Food, flowers, their presence are among the many
thoughtful expressions. After the funeral, many grieving people wonder
what happened to their friends. They need their support and caring even
more when the reality begins to hit and the long process of grief
begins. Their help is essential, since immediate family members have
their hands full of grief and may find it difficult to give support to
one another, or may not live nearby.
To Help Family and Friends dealing with Bereavement and Grief
help and understanding of the Bereavement and Grief process can make a significant difference in the healing
of your friend's grief. Unresolved grief and bereavement can lead to physical or mental
illness, suicide or premature death. A grieving person caught in
bereavement needs friends who
are willing to: LISTEN; cry with them; sit with them; reminisce; care;
have creative ideas for coping; be honest; help them feel loved and
needed; believe that they will make it through their grief. Ways of
helping grieving people are limitless as your imagination.
Make a Very Personal Difference in a Grieving Friend's Life
in this Very Special Service. Help a Grieving Friend with Bereavement When They Really
Find Out More
Friend Things that Help
to help with practical matters; i.e., errands, fixing food, caring for
children. Say, "I'm going to the store. Do you need bread, milk,
etc? I'll get them." It is not helpful to say, "Call me if
there is anything I can do."
available to LISTEN frequently. Most bereaved want to talk about the
person who has
died. Encourage them to talk about the deceased. Do not change the
conversation or avoid
mentioning the person's name.
Give special attention to the children in the family. DO NOT tell them
not to cry or not to upset the adults.
unconditional love. Feelings of rage, anger and frustration are not
pleasant to observe or listen to; but it is necessary for the bereaved
to recognize and work on these feelings in order to work through the
grief, rather than become stuck in one phase.
avoid the bereaved. This adds to their loss. As the widowed often say,
"I not only lost my spouse, but my friends as well."
sending a note at the time of their loved one's birthday, anniversary,
death, or other special days.
continuing acts of thoughtfulness - a note, visit, plant, helpful book
on grief, plate of cookies, phone call, invitation for lunch, dinner,
coffee. Take the initiative in calling the bereaved.
You Should Do
It is not necessary to ask questions about how the death happened. Let
the bereaved tell you as much as they want when they are ready. A
helpful question might be, "Would you like to talk? I'll
about the various phases of grief so you can understand and help the
bereaved to understand.
PATIENT. Don't say, "You will get over it in time." Mourning
may take a long time. The
bereaved need you to stand-by them for as long as necessary. Encourage
them to be patient with
themselves as there is no timetable for grief.
whatever feelings are expressed. Don't say, "You shouldn't feel
like that." This attitude puts pressure on the bereaved to push
down their feelings. Encourage them to express their feelings - cry, hit
a pillow, scream, etc.
that the bereaved person keep a journal.
Suggest that the bereaved postpone major decisions such as moving,
giving everything away, etc. Later they may regret their hasty decision.
It is best for the bereaved to keep decision making to a minimum.
exercise to help work off bottled up tension and anger, to relax and to
aid sleep. Offer to join them for tennis, exercise classes, swimming, a
the bereaved to avoid unrealistic expectations as to how they
"should" feel and when they will be better. It is
helpful when appropriate to say, "I don't know how you do as well