Dealing with grief is difficult and even though we all lose people we love eventually it can be hard to come to terms with when it happens close to home.
If someone close to you has lost someone they love it can be difficult and sometimes impossible to know what to say. Actually it’s okay to say nothing at all. Just being there for that person is often enough.
It’s important to understand that the person who is suffering doesn’t expect you to take away their painful feelings; they will be grateful for your support during this time.
The Five Stages Of Grief
According to death and dying expert Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, there are five stages of grief:
These stages are not linear, meaning one day you might be really struggling and then in the next moment there might be a feeling of profound peace and acceptance. Cycles of grief can play themselves out over extended periods of time, depending on the individual.
If you’re not sure what to say to your loved one, that’s okay. Just be there for them in a non-judgemental way and let them feel whatever they are feeling. Doing this is can often be all that’s needed – but there are some things you definitely don’t want to say to a person who has lost someone they love.
ONE: “They Wouldn’t Want You To Be Sad”
It’s hard enough losing a loved one without being made to feel guilty for your grief. Firstly, you don’t know for sure what the deceased person would be feeling or what they would be wanting for this person.
Secondly, it’s important to allow your friend or loved one the space to experience his or her grieving in whatever way is appropriate for them at the time. If they feel sad, they should be encouraged to express that sadness in their own way.
TWO: “You Need To Be Strong For Your Family”
This person is acutely aware of his or her responsibilities and obligations and they need to be able to process their grief without the added pressure of worrying about how other people around them are doing.
This statement encourages the repression or pushing away of normal, natural emotions that must be processed in a healthy, positive way.
THREE: “You Have So Much To Be Grateful For”
Not a good time to bring this one up. Your grieving friend already knows what blessings they have. But right now they are feeling sad, anxious and depressed – and that’s okay.
Trying to make this person focus on the good things in life only serves to trivialize the deep pain and suffering they are experiencing right now. There will be plenty of time for gratitude in the future.
FOUR: “You Just Need To Keep Busy”
This is just another way of saying ‘pretend your grief doesn’t exist’. Your loved one needs the space and freedom to manage his or her grief as it arises without being expected to be on the go all the time.
If they can hardly get out of bed, it’s not a great time to suggest they engage in other activities. Your friend needs time and understanding, not mindless distractions.
FIVE: “You Need To Move On”
Firstly, this is stating the obvious. Secondly your loved one is probably already placing pressure on themselves to hurry along the process of feeling better. Trying to rush your friend through the grieving process is both futile and detrimental. Give them the space to heal in their own time.
If someone you know is having a hard time dealing with grief, maybe you can recommend my grief and loss hypnosis MP3 download to them.
If you’re struggling and you live in Melbourne, a hypnotherapist can show help you to work through your grief in a healthy and constructive way! Get in touch me any time via my contact page and I’ll show you how.