7 Ways to Help a Loved One Grieve

“Life is so rich in offering us a vast array of situations and circumstances, some more challenging than others.  When you are in the position to comfort a friend in crisis, you have been given a wonderful opportunity to express your love and caring.  The most important thing to know is that there is no type of loss that shouldn’t be acknowledged. Whether the person you know has lost a close family member, a friend, or even a pet, your condolences may be the one bright spot in that person’s day. Talking about the good times and the bad times are both part of remembering. Your friend will be grateful for the time of remembrance and will value your friendship.”

No need for profound advice. Experts say simply being present is most helpful, and we’ll show you how.

Your friend’s sister dies, and these are the polished little phrases Hallmark suggests you offer her – someone whose world has been tied up, battered and rolled off a cliff. What do you say? How can you possibly comfort her?

“The truth is no one can truly ‘comfort’ the survivor of a recent death,” says Megen Duffy, an emergency department nurse who pens the blog “Not Nurse Ratched.” Duffy has consoled strangers whose loved ones recently died in unexpected, often violent ways and concludes that, “One can merely be present, or not, according to the person’s wishes.”

But what does it mean to “be present?” It’s a phrase used by most of this article’s experts, who range from mental health professionals to funeral directors to hospice care consultants. In the first minutes and hours after a patient’s death, at the hospital, Duffy shows her presence by offering to fulfill the personal needs of the surviving family. Some mourners need coffee and a telephone; some need an exhaustive run-down of the events leading up to the death; some need to see the body. Duffy is there to assist with all these tasks.

One of the next steps of the bereaved may be to contact the funeral home, which is when someone like Caleb Wilde, a sixth-generation funeral director, jumps into action. Wilde, who authors the “Confessions of a Funeral Director” blog, also stresses the importance of being “present.”

Read more: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2013/08/07/7-ways-to-help-a-loved-one-grieve

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