JUST FOR SUNDAY: 2/19/12

Feb 19th, 2012 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Managing Grief

A retired pastor, friend and colleague shared the following counsel with his congregation a number of years ago.  I thank him for having shared it with me.

“One of the necessities of our mortality is the management of grief.  Grief permeates life and learning to live with it is a process which belongs in the growth graph of each one of us.  But in spite of the fact that the management of grief is a common experience, many of us do not do a good job of helping others handle their grief.  Therefore, I want to suggest some ways in which you can be helpful to relatives and friends in their grief experiences.

“Definite don’ts:

  • 1. Don’t put off going to see the grieving person because you don’t know what to way.  Your caring presence is much more important than carefully chosen words.
  • 2. Don’t talk about everything under the sun in order to cover up your own nervousness.  You are there to listen;  let your friend talk out his or her grief.
  • 3. Don’t smother the grieving person by trying to take over everything depriving him or her of having to deal with reality.
  • 4. Don’t use such expressions as ‘it’s God’s will’, we never know enough to say that.
  • 5. Don’t tell a grieving person to ‘buck up’ or ‘don’t take it so hard.’  Comments like these trivialize the person’s loss.
  • 6. Don’t assume that all grief experiences are the same.  Each person’s grief is unique and highly personal.

Helpful Advice to Deal With Grief

“Positive helpful advice our readers may find useful:

  • 1. Respect the grieving person’s mood and don’t try to tell the person how he or she should handle his or her grief.
  • 2. Let the grieving person talk, saying whatever he or she feels like saying.  Don’t argue if you do not like what is being said.
  • 3. Help the grieving person actualize his or her loss.  The grief process is prolonged when a person will not deal openly and honestly with their grief.  Helping them to walk away from the grave may be the first real step back toward the world of reality.
  • 4. Help the grieving person to find new motives and relationships.  Grief saps our normal motivation.  Therefore your friend may need to be motivated to do the thing that he or she needs to do but does not feel like doing.
  • 5.  Keep in touch with the grieving person and exercise patience.  If you stay away from a grieving friend because it pains you, or you don’t know what to do, you increase the person’s grief.  He or she not only suffers the loss of a loved one, but he or she suffers the loss of your caring, if you stay away.”


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