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Supporting Someone Through Grief

November 06, 2012
Group owner Richard Martine

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Supporting Someone Through Grief

By: Richard Martine   Post Date : November 06, 2012
When someone you care about has lost a loved one through death, their world is radically changed. They may go through many different emotions, often in the same day. These include disbelief, denial, anger, depression, despair, withdrawal, detachment, and confusion. Try not to take their reactions personally.

You may feel uncomfortable around the bereaved person, and may be unsure how to respond to their grief. The most helpful approach you can take, in general, is to focus on the bereaved person's needs rather than on your own discomfort. Following are some guidelines for supporting someone through their period of grief:

* First, acknowledge the loss and convey your sympathy. You could simply say, "I'm sorry for your loss. I know how close you two were." You might wish to send flowers or make a donation to a charity if one has been designated.

* If the individual feels like talking, be available and be a good listener. They may have a need to talk, and they will need a good listener, not advice. You can't take away someone's pain, but you can help ease it a little just by being there for them. Don't be afraid to talk about the deceased if the bereaved person indicates that they want to talk about them.

* Don't pull away as soon as the crisis passes. People often need support even more after the funeral is over and the visitors have gone home. Keep checking in. Offer practical help, such as fixing dinner, driving them somewhere, running errands for them, or watching their children. Offer to take them out to dinner, shopping, a movie, etc.

* Ask the person how they are doing from time to time, and really listen for the truth. If their intense feelings of grief are not beginning to taper off after six months, they might have what is called complicated grief or prolonged grief. If you suspect this is the case, look into local resources for grief counseling and present them to the individual. Offer to make the initial call for them and to go to the first appointment with them.

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