How to Comfort the Grief Stricken?
Don't desert. After the initial contact with the patient, there is a tendency to leave the bereaved alone and forsaken. If this has been true for you, question yourself as to why you did that? Was it out of concern that you might further distress those who have suffered loss? In other words, were you afraid that you might trigger another round of tears which can look like you are bringing more pain on them then they already have?Be a pathway. Look at your presence as a pathway to healing. And healing often comes through pain. The rule of thumb is the quicker and more intensely a person grieves, the sooner they heal. This rule does not negate a person’s will or choice. It just reminds caregivers that being with a griever and giving them permission to feel and express their grief, is what we’re all about.Don't try to fix the pain. Bereavement is painful. There must be pain before there can be healing. The most difficult thing to learn about comforting is to permit the bereaved to live their own pain. It is one thing to sorrow with a person but quite another thing to interfere with their pain. We are not doing anyone a service by trying to take their pain from them.Listen with your heart. Grieving is a matter of the heart rather than the head. Listening to the feelings of the bereaved is most important, permitting the sorrow to surface and the pain to be openly expressed. Invite all feelings to surface and listen through the silences. Your being there is more important than knowing what to say.Accept all expressions of grief without censoring. Often there are aggressive feelings expressed, including anger, resentment, guilt and shame. Sometimes the bereaved feel cheated by God. Let them be angry. God understands grief. The only time to intervene is if the anger is expressed in a way that may physically hurt someone. The way to healing ones anger is through first acknowledging and processing it. Then is when a person is more likely to begin abandoning it.Permit the bereaved opportunity to talk. This is a vital part of the healing process. Enforced silence in this regard can be very detrimental and prevent recovery. Gently ask the bereaved if they would like to talk about their loved one.Be sincere. Do not make a pretense at being interested in the bereaved if you are not. Pretense really can hurt. Think how you want to be treated and always seek to be kind.“Be swift to HEAR and slow to speak”Helping a Woman Grieve· Listening. Helping begins with your ability to be an active listener. Your physical presence and desire to listen without judgment are critical helping tools. Don't worry so much about what you'll say. Just concentrate on listening to the words that are being shared with you. Resist the urge to preach and educate the grieving person. Women will generally vent verbally more than men, allow her to vent!· Having compassion. Give your friend permission to express his feelings without fear of criticism. Learn from your friend; don't instruct or set expectations about how he should respond. Never say, "I know how you feel." You don't. Think of yourself as someone who walks alongside-not behind or in front of-the one who is mourning. If the woman in question allows it give her a hug, sometimes a hug means more than anything you could possibly say.· Being there. Your ongoing and reliable presence is the most important gift you can give your grieving friend. While you can't take the pain away, you can enter into it through being there for him. Remain available in the weeks, months, and years to come. Remember that your friend may need you more later on than at the time of the death. The loneliest time is months after the funeral, when all the friends and family has gone away. Take her out to lunch sometimes or have her over for coffee and Danish.