7 Simple Ways to Help Your Grieving Friend


Guidelines for Helping Someone Who is Mourning

Friends often ask themselves questions, such as: What should I do? What should I say? Am I doing the right thing? What can I do better? Here are some suggestions for helping the person in grief:

  1. Take some kind of action. Make a phone call, send a card, give a hug, attend the funeral, help with practical matters (e.g., meals, care of children).
  2. Be available. Allow the person time so that there is no sense of “urgency” when you visit or talk.
  3. Be a good listener. Accept the words and feelings expressed, avoid being judgmental or taking their feelings personally. Avoid telling them what they should feel or what they should do.
  4. Don’t minimize the loss and avoid giving clichés and easy answers. Don’t be afraid to talk about the loss (i.e., the deceased, the ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, the disability, etc.).
  5. Allow the bereaved person to grieve for as long or short of a time as needed. Be patient. There are no shortcuts.
  6. Encourage the bereaved to care for themselves. They need to attend to physical needs, postpone major decisions, and allow themselves to grieve and recover.
  7. Acknowledge and accept your own limitations. Many situations can be hard to handle, but can be made easier with the help of outside resources – books, workshops, support groups, other friends, or professionals.

Posted by Larry M. Barber, LPC-S, CT author of the grief survival guide “Love Never Dies: Embracing Grief with Hope and Promise”  available online at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Love-Never-LPC-S-Larry-Barber/dp/1613796005 ), Barnes & Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-never-dies-lpc-s-ct-larry-m-barber-ct-larry-m/1104364890?ean=9781613796016).

The grief survival guide is also available in Spanish as “El Amor Nunca Muere: Aceptando el Dolor con Esperanza y Promesa” 

Both English and Spanish versions are available for Kindle and Nook. Larry is the director of GriefWorks, a free grief support program for children and their families in Dallas TX  http://grief-works.org.

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About griefminister

Director, GriefWorks & CounselingWorks Licensed Professional Counselor Certified in Thanatology (Study of Death, Dying & Bereavement) by The Association of Death Education and Counseling Grief Therapist, Educator, Consultant Author-"Love Never Dies: Embracing Grief with Hope and Promise.'
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One Response to 7 Simple Ways to Help Your Grieving Friend

  1. Bill Smith says:

    Excellent words.

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