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Tue Jul 15, 2014, 07:20 PM

Does anyone have tips on consoling a person who has lost a loved one

Fortunately I have never been in this position. Someone very close to me has lost a loved onee. I am staying by her side and trying to make her remember the good times she had with this person.

Any other tips?

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Arrow 21 replies Author Time Post
Reply Does anyone have tips on consoling a person who has lost a loved one (Original post)
ohnoyoudidnt Jul 2014 OP
rug Jul 2014 #1
sarge43 Jul 2014 #2
SoCalDem Jul 2014 #15
LiberalEsto Jul 2014 #3
Wait Wut Jul 2014 #4
raptor_rider Jul 2014 #5
easttexaslefty Jul 2014 #6
LisaLynne Jul 2014 #7
orleans Jul 2014 #8
raccoon Jul 2014 #17
UTUSN Jul 2014 #9
blogslut Jul 2014 #10
DeadLetterOffice Jul 2014 #11
orleans Jul 2014 #13
DeadLetterOffice Jul 2014 #14
lovemydog Jul 2014 #16
orleans Jul 2014 #18
DeadLetterOffice Jul 2014 #19
ohnoyoudidnt Jul 2014 #21
Iggo Jul 2014 #12
dr.strangelove Jul 2014 #20

Response to ohnoyoudidnt (Original post)

Tue Jul 15, 2014, 07:32 PM

1. Just stay close.

 

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Response to ohnoyoudidnt (Original post)

Tue Jul 15, 2014, 07:35 PM

2. The kindest words

"Can I help?"

Everyone grieves and mourns in different ways. Knowing someone is there for them is comforting.

Just be there and follow her lead.

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Response to sarge43 (Reply #2)

Wed Jul 16, 2014, 06:33 AM

15. and know that they often will not ask for things they need

so you may need to just pitch in.. things that are mundane and tedious for them of things that their loved one used to do might be a good place to start..

You just have to play it by ear.....some people take longer to work though the process..

Instead of saying, "what can I do?" you might say, "I'm going for carry out, what do you want me to get you.,. or should I surprise you". It's kind of like when you ask a toddler what they want to wear.. It's always easier if you give them two choices..A or B

Just being there is a blessing to them

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Response to ohnoyoudidnt (Original post)

Tue Jul 15, 2014, 07:46 PM

3. Don't say, listen

 

Encourage the person to talk, and listen with your heart.

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Response to ohnoyoudidnt (Original post)

Tue Jul 15, 2014, 07:58 PM

4. No.

Everyone reacts differently to losing someone. Just watch her mood, see if she's hinting she'd like to laugh, get out, eat, etc.

I'm a loner, so I always prefer to live in denial until reality hits me. Then, I need to laugh. Others need to cry and have people close.

You being there for her is probably the best thing you could do.

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Response to ohnoyoudidnt (Original post)

Tue Jul 15, 2014, 08:13 PM

5. Just be there for her.

She needs a friend right now. Listen to her when she talks. Hold her when she cries. No words or actions can take away the pain. Just be a person she can count on.

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Response to ohnoyoudidnt (Original post)

Tue Jul 15, 2014, 08:35 PM

6. Listen.

Just listen.

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Response to ohnoyoudidnt (Original post)

Tue Jul 15, 2014, 08:47 PM

7. Everybody needs something different.

I like to immediately talk about the person and all of the memories I have of him/her, as well as hear others'. However, there are many in my family that don't want to mention the person at all. So, as others have said, you have to take your cue from the person who is grieving. Give them time, too. It's not going to be over in week or a month.

I always say, however, that when my dad died, one of the few things I remember from the funeral was a friend of mine coming up to me and just saying, honestly, "I don't know what to say" and then giving me a big hug. That was for some reason really meaningful to me, just the honesty.

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Response to ohnoyoudidnt (Original post)

Tue Jul 15, 2014, 09:52 PM

8. here's a few suggestions

The Best Things to Say to Someone in Grief
1. I am so sorry for your loss.
2. I wish I had the right words, just know I care.
3. I don’t know how you feel, but I am here to help in anyway I can.
4. You and your loved one will be in my thoughts and prayers.
5. My favorite memory of your loved one is…
6. I am always just a phone call away
7. Give a hug instead of saying something
8. We all need help at times like this, I am here for you
9. I am usually up early or late, if you need anything
10. Saying nothing, just be with the person

The Worst Things to Say to Someone in Grief
1. At least she lived a long life, many people die young
2. He is in a better place
3. She brought this on herself
4. There is a reason for everything
5. Aren’t you over him yet, he has been dead for awhile now
6. You can have another child still
7. She was such a good person God wanted her to be with him
8. I know how you feel
9. She did what she came here to do and it was her time to go
10. Be strong
http://grief.com/10-best-worst-things-to-say-to-someone-in-grief/

also--because we all seem to have different time tables when it comes to grief, your friend may need to talk about this person and cry for them long after you feel she should have "moved on" or gotten beyond the loss. if you're a close friend, just be patient and show a lot of empathy and understanding. and listen. and let her talk. and let her cry.

"Grief is the internal part of loss, how we feel. The internal work of grief is a process, a journey. It does not end on a certain day or date. It is as individual as each of us. Grief is real because loss is real. Each grief has its own imprint, as distinctive and as unique as the person we lost. The pain of loss is so intense, so heartbreaking, because in loving we deeply connect with another human being, and grief is the reflection of the connection that has been lost."
http://grief.com/

i put together quotes on grief in the bereavement forum (check it out):
http://www.democraticunderground.com/1234870

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Response to orleans (Reply #8)

Wed Jul 16, 2014, 08:40 AM

17. Thank you! Especially for the best things/worst things to say lists. nt

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Response to ohnoyoudidnt (Original post)

Tue Jul 15, 2014, 10:21 PM

9. Me myself - just have to keep loving my DU/GD/Louners keeping on n/t

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Response to ohnoyoudidnt (Original post)

Tue Jul 15, 2014, 10:34 PM

10. Be there. Make sure they are taking care of their personal needs.

People who are newly grieving can be absent-minded. They might need help with basic tasks like cooking, cleaning and other things like remembering to pay bills on time.

As for emotional comfort, the best thing is to just listen and give comfort. As well, gently steer them away from making major life choices as the tendency to do such is very common.

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Response to ohnoyoudidnt (Original post)

Tue Jul 15, 2014, 10:38 PM

11. I was a grief & trauma counsellor for many years, and used this handout in my work.

I hope it will be helpful to you:

Many people are unsure how to help someone who is grieving the death of a loved one. If someone you know has experienced a significant loss, you are probably seeing some changes in his or her mood and behavior. The grief may seem overwhelming. You may be looking for a better understanding about grief, normal grieving reactions, and specific strategies for helping.

Normal Grief and Grief Reactions
Grieving is the natural response to loss. It is not about “getting over” the death; it is about expressing sorrow, sharing memories, and learning how to go forward with life. Over time, the person who is grieving learns to create a new reality without their loved one in it, but this is not the same as “getting over” the death. It is important for most grieving people to continue to commemorate their relationship with the deceased in some meaningful way. Sometimes it may be important for survivors to come to terms with difficult parts of their relationship and to find a way to make peace.
Grieving takes time. The person you know who is grieving may take many months, often well over a year, to gain a sense of having a new normal life. Grief is a form of healing. You would not push a friend to hurry up and walk if his leg was broken. In the same way, understand that a part of the griever is broken and needs time to heal.
Grief is not a mental illness, but it is a time of strong physical, emotional, mental and spiritual changes. Many grieving people experience disruption in their moods, thoughts, concentration and energy. Most people have some changes in their eating and sleeping habits. Each person is unique, and so is each person’s grief. Some people will become more irritable and angry, some may cry frequently, others may become quiet and withdrawn. Most people are exhausted by grief, and may become absentminded and distracted. All of these reactions are normal, and to be expected.

You Can Help
Call. It is normal for grieving people to be somewhat inwardly focused, making it difficult to express their needs. Rather than say, “Call if you need anything,” you should make the call. Not just once, but periodically over time, call and check in. Don’t offer help you can’t actually provide, and make sure to follow through on any help they accept.

Be specific. Are you running errands? Offer to pick something up or take care of some chore. If the person is a coworker, can you help make it easier for them to function during the distractible grieving period? Can you offer to take over a task or relieve one burden? This strategy is useful for the first several months.

Listen. Just listening to the stories grieving people want to tell is enormously helpful. They may need to talk about the death itself to help them figure out how to make sense of an overwhelming experience. They may express great sadness or anger. Do not take their emotions personally. Let them express them and just listen. You do not have to try to fix the feelings or problems that the griever is sharing, just be there. Avoid clichés, as these often make the griever feel you are trying to shut them up or aren’t really listening.

Be available over time. Often after a death, people are supportive for the first few weeks. Many grieving people report that their support system rallies well at the time of the death but then vanishes two or three months later – long before their grieving is over. If you can, be there for the long haul. Judge your own capacity for helping, and make it clear what you can do. You do not have to feel guilty about the limits of your helping. Give what time you can give with an open heart, and trust that by not burning out you can give more over time.

Normalize. The grieving person may be overwhelmed by reactions to the loss. Letting the person who is grieving know that you understand these reactions are normal responses to a difficult circumstance may provide needed comfort and relief.

Encourage healthful living. Gently encourage the grieving person to try to get some rest, eat well, and exercise. Understand that the griever will probably have some changes in eating and sleeping patterns. A wonderful way to help the griever is to go for a walk together. This lets the griever get some exercise and talk about whatever is on his or her mind at the same time.

When Professional Help Is Needed
Most grief reactions will lessen over time. There are times however when grieving becomes complicated and counseling may be helpful. The following circumstances may indicate a need for professional assistance:
• If a grieving person has a history of mental illness
• If a grieving person is turning to drugs or alcohol, or has had problems with drugs or alcohol in the past
• If a grieving person has a limited support network
• If a grieving person is taking unusual and/or dangerous risks
• If grieving is causing significant daily problems for the griever
• If the grief is complicated by trauma (the death was difficult, sudden, or unexpected, or due to violence or suicide)
• If a griever expresses a desire to join their loved one in death. These thoughts are common and are rarely truly suicidal. However, if the griever speaks of actual plans about when and how to take their life, immediate evaluation by a doctor or mental health professional is required.

(c) The Community Hospice, Inc. 2006

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Response to DeadLetterOffice (Reply #11)

Tue Jul 15, 2014, 11:56 PM

13. this is a wonderful post

could you please cross post the grief reactions & suggestions over in the bereavement forum? thanks.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=forum&id=1234

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Response to orleans (Reply #13)

Wed Jul 16, 2014, 05:37 AM

14. Thank you, and it's been posted.

I have several others in a similar vein that I wrote back when I worked for hospice -- about normal grief symptoms and suggestions for coping with them; adult parent loss; life partner loss; children and funerals, & answering kids questions about death; surviving the holidays; and so forth. Each are more or less the same length as the post above, and written in a similar tone. Are those something that would be welcome over in the bereavement forum? I'd be happy to post them, if so.

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Response to DeadLetterOffice (Reply #14)

Wed Jul 16, 2014, 07:03 AM

16. It's helpful for me.

Having those resources available here at DU. My stepmother passed away last year, and now a friend's husband passed away last month. Thank you.

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Response to DeadLetterOffice (Reply #14)

Wed Jul 16, 2014, 09:51 AM

18. they sound like they would all be very appropriate and helpful

and i think it would be great if you would post them also.

thank you!

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Response to orleans (Reply #18)

Wed Jul 16, 2014, 10:31 AM

19. Excellent.

I'll work on getting them formatted and posted today.
Thanks.

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Response to DeadLetterOffice (Reply #11)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 08:05 PM

21. Thank you

And thanks to everyone for the replies and advice.





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Response to ohnoyoudidnt (Original post)

Tue Jul 15, 2014, 10:46 PM

12. The best thing I've learned is to follow their lead.

They know how they feel.

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Response to ohnoyoudidnt (Original post)

Wed Jul 16, 2014, 11:17 AM

20. For me, its best just to say, I know I can't do anything but be here, but know I am here

then follow through. If they want to go get drunk, do it. If they want to sit in a library, do it. see a movie, go shopping, talk, play a sport ... I find everyone deals with grief in their own way. Just let them do what they want to do, and be there if they want a companion. I tend to drink a lot when someone dies and I have some friends who are always there for me. But my sister is not a drinker. Instead her thing is to go to this pond near her house and sit and feed the ducks and just sit there quietly. Her best friend stayed with her for 7 hours when my dad died. She says they hardly spoke, just sat there. She is the a truly great friend to my sister.

anyway, good for you for being there and being a good friend.

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