I recently read an article that was written by a licensed clinical social worker. He had experienced some real losses in his life and was expressing the things that he learned and suggestions to others, who want to help in time of need. The article is called Lifting the Hands which hang down by Stephen Havertz and you can read all of it here:
I wanted to share a few things that I really thought were good to remember, especially coming from his unique perspective on grief and loss...
In his own experience, even when he thought that he had handled the death of his child, he realized that there were still times when emotions seemed to sneak up and ambush him. He said that he felt like most of his life he was a fairly EVEN emotionally, but during and after a few of these really hard trials he felt like his EMOTIONS OVERPOWERED ALL LOGIC!
What can I say?
Please don't say " I know what you are going through " if you never have experienced that exact situation. And even sometimes if you have, remember that everyone and everyone's experiences and life are different, so they could feel differently still. EACH TYPE OF GRIEF COMES WITH ITS OWN SET OF QUESTIONS AND OFTEN A HEAVY DOSE OF REGRET AND EMOTIONAL PAIN.
In all cases, those who wish to help will be most effective when they can be sensitive to the unique situation. It's probably best to express your love and condolences to the grievers and avoid making statements about what they should do or how they should feel.
PEOPLE WHO WANT TO HELP SHOULD BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT PLACING A TIME LIMIT ON SOMEONE'S GRIEF. Some people believe that you should be finished grieving in a year and a half. He mentions that his daughter died 3 years ago and still he feels tremendous pain whenever he visits the hospital where she was sick. This type of grief doesn't mean that he is depressed or inconsolable, but rather it suggests that he still misses the daughter that he loved so much.
What is helpful?
He mentions that it is helpful to have conversations with others when they talk about their favorite memories of his daughter. It is also helpful when they are willing to listen to his favoritie memories of her. YOU DON'T HAVE TO HELP PEOPLE WHO ARE GRIEVING TO STOP CRYING. They still need to release their feelings and that is ok!
He said one neighbor ( that he didn't know well ) just came over and just gave him a hug, that was his way of communicating his love and concern for him. Another person and some friends came over ( unexpectantly ) and did his yard work. He really appreciated that.
What is really important to remember?
THESE EXPERIENCES HAVE TAUGHT HIM THAT IT IS BEST TO BE EMPATHETIC AND PROACTIVE ABOUT HELPING THOSE WHO ARE GRIEVING. IF YOU TAKE TIME TO OBSERVE, YOU CAN OFTEN COME UP WITH IDEAS FOR HOW TO HELP THAT ARE SPECIFIC TO THE GRIEVER'S NEED. AND ALWAYS KEEP IN MIND...THAT PEOPLE MOURN IN DEEPLY PERSONAL WAYS!
So we need to stand ready to help and lift up other, as the Savior would have us to do.
Good night dear friends!