Talking About the Loss of a Loved One
by Cheryline Lawson
The loss of a loved one is a very sensitive topic for most people. No one wants to talk about losing a loved one or talk to the person who is grieving. In most cases, the person who is grieving wants to hear sympathy and encouragement. However, it is uncomfortable for others to approach the grief-stricken individual for lack of the right words to say.
When I lost my son in 1989, the person closest to me who was my husband and the father of our son, refused to share his feelings with me. I could not get him to open up to me. He did not want to talk about the incident or the future. I respected his wishes and sought other people to talk to. I wanted someone to listen to my pain.
My husband's family was not helpful both because they seemed uneasy about everything and whenever I tried to bring up the subject, they would change the subject abruptly. I felt distance between them and my pain. I knew they cared about me, but e topic of death and dying was off limits and not up for discussion.
Why is there such a taboo about having a conversation about the feelings one goes through at the time of grief? Is it out of respect for the grieving or is it just our own personal discomfort? Here are some things to consider when dealing with someone who is grieving:
- Offer your sympathy to someone who has lost a loved one, but also let him or her know that you are available when they need to talk.
- Be sure to call them on the phone at least once per month to see how they are doing
- Offer to take him or her out to dinner or a walk in the park
- Send a letter or card in the mail letting him or her know you are thinking of them
By doing these things, you will help the person to understand that you are truly reaching out to them.
Most people try to avoid being in the company of the grief stricken individual, not realizing that it is at times of grieving that someone really needs you more than ever. I was not able to find many people to reach out to me. No one wanted to talk about it.
I guess this is why some people seek professional help in their grief since professionals are trained to handle people who have lost a loved one. However, if the person cannot afford the help of a counselor, what can they do? The counselor can only be objective, but a friend can help to bring a sense of security and belonging to someone who has had that taken away from them suddenly.
Don't take anything or anyone for granted. Don't think that the grieving person wants to be alone all the time. Loneliness can become their worst enemy. You never know when you might need someone to help you through your grief, so try to understand the process by lending a listening ear to someone who is coping with grief. It helps them to release the pain and take a step toward their healing. It also will give you a better handle on their pain.
Cheryline Lawson is the mother who has been on an emotional journey of losing her only child and has written a book titled, Coping with Grief, and is giving proceeds of the book back to a support group that is helping grieving families. Find out more about how you can help by visiting her website at http://www.coping-with-grief.com.
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