SUPPORT FOR BEREAVED


          SOCIAL SUPPORT  


         
                     comforting hug in grief

SUPPORT FOR BEREAVED FROM FAMILY & FRIENDS

Support for bereaved...

Experts agree that the single most important factor in healing from a grievous loss is the support of other people. Even if you are a close-mouthed individual during normal times, it is most important that you ventilate your pain and grief with your loved ones.

This type of support will help you to begin the healing process. If they seem uncomfortable, explain to them that this is an important part of the grief process, and you really need to do it. They will be helpful if you tell them how to help.

Surround yourself with loved ones who understand, and can accept you just where you are. Be with caring people. Find comfort in friends. They may not fully understand the depths of your grief, but just being there, listening to you express your grief will help. There will also be times when you just want to be alone, and that's okay, too. But it is not healthy over the long haul to grieve alone.

Be selfish! Ask for some help and support from your family and friends. Some may want to help, but not know how. Tell them! Ask them to bring you some dinner, or go to the movies with you or just let you talk and cry, and give you a hug.

Let them take care of you, even if (especially if) you are normally a strong, self-sufficient person. What you need right now is tender, loving care, both from others, and from yourself.

Talk about your loss, your pain, your memories of your lost one. Tell your story over and over; this is important. Storytelling is the beginning of the grief process.

Don't try to protect your family from your crushing sadness. Don't try to put up a brave front, pretending that you are alright, when you're NOT. It is important to express all of this.

 


Support for bereaved...

Take the time to support others in the family who are grieving too, including the children. Helping others helps you. Be honest and let them ventilate, too.

Be careful and sensitive to others in the family, as a death can tear a family apart if it is handled improperly. Be sensitive to others approach to grief, and do not accuse or lay blame. They are suffering, too.

Don't spend time with folks who are uncomfortable with your grief or just "don't get it". You do not need opinionated advice-givers. You know who they are... the ones who say things like...

  • "Life is for the living",
  • "You need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps", or
  • "He wouldn't want you to be sad".

Hogwash! Grief is profoundly devastating. It is NOT a time for being strong.... it is a time for patience and surrender.

Your grief will pull you through. Just don't let anyone try to manipulate it or add more guilt to your emotional burdens right now. Dismiss their insensitive statements from your mind by telling yourself that they mean well, but just don't understand.

See the spirit in which the misguided help is offered. Then steer clear of those people, as they are not helpful to you right now.

 



ACTIVITIES

Support for bereaved...

As difficult as it may be, try to stay involved in your normal activities, at least to some extent. Maintain your basic lifestyle.

You will find comfort and soothing structure in performing the simple tasks of daily living-- the laundry, dishes, cleaning, yardwork. Force yourself to go through the motions and get these things done. This will help you in the long run.

The job. Take the maximum allowed bereavement leave, then go on back to work. It'll be very hard at first, but a lot of your identity is wrapped up in your career. Work will keep you occupied, allow emotional support from co-workers, and provide much-needed continuity and routine in your life.

You may find support from your workplace or church. Try not to isolate yourself. You will not feel like partying 'til midnight, but it may do you some good to go to your cousin's baby shower.

Support for bereaved...

Give yourself a break from grief. Try some of these:

  • Go out to dinner or a good movie, or enjoy your favorite sporting event.
  • Take a short trip or weekend retreat to escape for a little while. Pick a pleasant destination. Get away from the phone and memories for a brief time.
  • Go to the beach and build a sand castle. Watch the sun set over the water.
  • Plant a vegetable or rose garden. Weed it regularly... very therapeutic.
  • Go kayaking or canoeing.
  • Clean out your closets and de-clutter your house.
  • Go for a walk in the park and commune with nature. Look for the beauty in autumn leaves or glittery snowflakes.

As the grief eases up, make the effort to create new beginnings. Return to your old hobbies, or start something new. Take a watercolor course at the local community college, or take Tae Kwon Do lessons. Learn to play a musical instrument or speak a foreign language.
 



SAVE YOUR MARRIAGE

Support for bereaved...

Don't let your marriage die too...

They say that a heavy tragedy can either bind lovers together or tear them apart. It's true. Grief is known to do this to a relationship.

Just be forewarned, no matter how devastated you are, and how much pain you feel, make the effort to treat your marriage or love relationship with kindness and respect.

Hold your tongue, no matter how you may wish to lash out in anger or lay blame. A year from now, when your marriage is in shambles, you will sorely regret having acted in the heat of passion.

Some strategies to help hold your relationship together:

You must communicate, talk about the tragedy. Let each other know when a day is good or bad, and what you need at that time. Be patient and generous. Your partner might not have his relationship skills on a razors edge either.

Don't expect too much, and allow for poor performance of chores and duties. Chores can wait, or hire some help during this time. Hire a lawn mowing company and housekeeper once a week. Money well spent, and a thoughtful gift for your mate during a trying time.

Grief is different for each person, and is experienced and expressed differently by men and women. Women more easily cry and talk out their emotions. Men tend to keep it in. They may find comfort in home projects or work. They may cry when alone in the car or shower, but they have been trained early on to be the strong, silent protectors. Don't misunderstand this for lack of caring.

I know that romance will not be high on your list of priorities right now. Well, put it there. Don't shut your mate out at a time when he or she needs you the most. Intimacy and caring can provide a sacred healing bond that will draw you two together "through the thin".

Later on in your bereavement, explore this website, which has some great ideas for keeping your love relationship alive in times of stress: www.findlove-keeplove.com/keep-love-alive.html.
 



ABOUT THE HOLIDAYS


Support for bereaved...

Now, about holidays; Christmas, anniversary, birthdays, date of the death. The special days are notorious for re-activating grief! Anyone who has mourned will confirm this.

You may be progressing okay with your grief journey, then, the anniversary of the death is coming up, or your first Christmas without her. Don't panic! But don't ignore the upcoming event, either. It is best to meet this painful challenge head-on.

Plan something special. Talk it over with your partner or the whole family. Decide if you want to continue the old traditions or change it up.

Do something symbolic or create a special ritual in memory of your lost one, like a brief memorial, poetry reading, candle-lighting ceremony or graveside visit.

The holiday will stir up some painful emotions, but the anticipation is often worse than the reality, and the whole ordeal should be short-lived. You will get through it and survive!
 

                                     memorial candle lighting ceremony

 

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POPULAR RESOURCES


       

     Essential Healing Guide


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