Posts tagged “How to help bereaved loved ones”

A question we often get asked is “should I take my young child to a funeral?” At Grief Recovery, we believe that all feelings are normal and natural including sad or painful ones so it would be easy to say “yes of course”. The real question is whether your child is old enough to hang around relatively quietly while the adults do what they must do. If they can do that then yes, they should go. 
 
Crucially, before that happens, the child needs to know what to expect and what your expectations are of them so you’ll need to do some explaining before the event: 
Should I let my child go to a funeral?
The pain of losing a child cannot be described in words. It doesn’t matter if the child is still young, an adult, or still in the womb – a child is a part of us and the pain of losing that extraordinary person is incomprehensibly heartbreaking. The loss of a child creates a ripple effect that can touch the lives of relatives, friends, and the larger community. 
 
There are plenty of heartfelt stories, blogs, books and groups dedicated to people who have been bereaved by the loss of a child. In this article we are turning our focus to common misconceptions around child loss so that we can bring comfort and hope to those who are grieving. 
Loss of a child
Every loss is unique, as is every person who has suffered loss. But those who have been bereaved by suicide know that there are aspects of this type of loss that are particularly painful, hard to accept, challenging to explain to others and seemingly impossible to overcome. 
 
We would like to talk about some of the unique aspects of bereavement by suicide to help those left behind as well as those who would like to provide them support. 
 
After a year of loss for many, we wanted to give you some tips on helping your friends who have lost a loved one, who might be spending their first Christmas alone, or have an empty chair around their Christmas table. 
Do you have a grieving friend, but you don’t know what to say or do?  
 
A typical nervous reaction is to ask if they are okay. Relentlessly. And of course, they are not.  
 
As a friend, you can end up in a ‘no man’s land’ of wanting to help, show support, and that you care, but you don’t know how. And then you’re worried about disturbing their mourning. 
How to support a friend after loss
Let's review our 5-point-plan for leaving lockdown thusfar: 
 
4. Have an open heart 
 
Now that you’re well-placed to say everything that you want to say, listen with an open heart to what the people you care about have to say to you. 
Have an open heart
The Grief Recovery Method teaches us how to listen and comfort others without trying to fix, analyse or explain (or change the topic back to ourselves!). Instead, we use the image of being a “heart with ears” – offering our full presence and listening with care and patience. If, and when we do respond, we do so without offering judgement, analysis or criticism. Rather than telling someone we know “exactly how they feel,” we can instead acknowledge their feelings, such as “It sounds like you’ve really been through it.” 
Today we’re starting the journey of taking you through our Leaving Lockdown 5-Point Plan, starting with Acknowledge Everything. Has your standard response to ‘how are you feeling’ become ‘I’m fine’ when people ask, but underneath you’re thinking, ‘I’m anything but fine’? The likelihood is that you’re going through a whole raft of emotions right now, which change throughout the course of the day. There will be good days and bad days. 
Living Through Lockdown: Acknowledge everything
As we have all witnessed, COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate. Many of us have been touched directly or indirectly by this awful virus. We have seen with our own Prime Minister that this virus can strike anyone. Today’s post is about the process of getting your relationships in as good a place as possible, so that whatever happens, you feel at peace with your loved ones. 
 
We’ve come up with a 5-point plan that you can apply to any of your relationships: 
 
 
We will go through each point in detail, so you can apply the points to your relationships. 
Living Through Lockdown
To quote the Faithless song, Insomnia, we are hearing about a lot of people who ‘can’t get no sleep’. When we don’t get enough sleep, it can impact our immune system and our mood. A lack of sleep can make us feel worse. 
 
A disrupted sleep pattern is a very common response to grief (if this is the first of our Coronavirus blogs that you’re reading, we’ve identified that we’re all grieving our loss of normal). Whether it’s not enough sleep, or sleeping too much, or both, alternately, this is a perfectly normal and natural response to loss and anxiety. 
Insomnia due to lockdown
To say that people are uncomfortable with emotions such as sadness, rage or fear – especially after a personal loss – is an understatement. 
 
Sit back for a moment and think about the times in your life when you were feeling sad and tried to talk about those feelings with others. On a few occasions your friend or family member may have simply listened without analysis, criticism or judgement. More often than not, however, you may have received one of the following responses:- 
How to Listen to a Griever
Many of us struggle to know what to say when someone has been bereaved, but at least with the card you’ve time to think about it so it’s easier right? Wrong! If you’ve ever sat with a blank card in front of you then you’ll know that actually the sight of that little white space can be quite daunting. 
 
Here’s my mini guide for How to write a sympathy card or similar.  
Grief in the Workplace
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