Reaching Out To People Who Grieve

300511_236408576417291_152312078160275_657019_1002736867_nFour months ago today, my mother was rushed to the  hospital. She passed away on October 14th. This has been flitting around me every time I enter the apartment, when I’m alone with it, and I’ve been doing my best to come to terms with it. People were coming out of the woodwork in the beginning, showing support, and, as time passes, so do a lot of that immediate showing of concern from the peripheral people: they’ve stopped coming around, stopped calling, stopped emailing. I don’t need the “how are you doing?” as much as I need their presence. Sharing of lives, good or bad, whether in person (always most ideal, for me) or by phone call, Skype, or email.

Grieving is not a one-and-done. Grieving a loss of a family member-especially an immediate family member-stays with you. Everyone carries around their pain differently, and for different lengths of time. The pain may morph into different things: we all react differently, but one thing we do need, in my opinion, is to know that the living still have support.

I just read an opinion article published in The Jewish Week by Sherri Mandell: How to Help Newtown’s Grieving Families. While this is primarily dealing with the tragic deaths of the children and teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary, and how to reach out to the surviving members of those families, I fell Ms. Mandell has some very strong words for anyone who is grieving and for those around them. She suffered her own loss of a child due to violence and is co-founder of The Koby Mandell Foundation.

She has a list of suggestions that, instead of just copying them here, I really hope you’ll click HERE to read the article. How to talk to someone who is going through such pain, to understand their needs when they don’t understand it themselves. I strongly suggest you read the article: her suggestions are in the latter half of the page, and well worth reading.

“Grieving requires a new language”  ~Sherri Mandell

I ask any reader here to pass this article on to whomever you know who has suffered the loss of a loved one, and especially to those around them, to help them understand how to deal with the person(s) actually grieving. Most of us just don’t know what to say or do in times like this; we don’t know how to support, what to say (or what not to say), and way too many seem to forget that while time passes by, the loss is still there.

It’s an emptiness that no matter what your relationship was (difficult or truly loved), there is still that one thing: something is missing. Please: continue reaching out to the people around you, no matter what. It shouldn’t be just during that period of time, as I’ve often said. If you care about someone, it’s always. It is not a holiday or time of year.

“When I am lost, help me, God, to find my way.
When I am hurt, shelter me with Your loving presence.
When my faith falters, show me that You are near.
When I cry out against You, accept my protest, God, as a prayer too. As a call to rid this world of pain and tragedy.
Until that day, give me the will to rebuild my life in spite of my suffering.
To choose life even in the face of death.
Amen.”
~from Talking to God by Naomi Levy (c)
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About StuHN

I am a creative individual with many areas of passion: Professional Storyteller; NYS Certified Drama Specialist/Educator; Professional Development Coordinator & Facilitator; Workshop Leader; sometime Puppeteer; Playwright; Director; Performer; Teaching Artist; and sometimes more.

Posted on January 13, 2013, in Caring, Counsling, Despair, Family, Fear, Friends, Grief, Inspiration, Loneliness, Love, Mindfulness, Prayers, Psalms, Spiritual, Support, Transformation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Hoping many people read this and Sherri Mandell’s article. Thank you.

  2. It is true. My sister died of cancer 13 years ago and I still grieve her passing. Because she had such an impact on our town, people still come up to me and say that they miss her. I truly appreciate those kind comments, it is one way that we all can keep her alive.

    • I am sorry for your loss. It’s good you and others have good memories of her. Yes, it is a way to keep things alive for you and others. Hope you get to share many good memories.

  3. What a wonderful article – so valuable. And true.

  4. Take care, Stuart. I’ve tried a few times to catch you on Skype, but I guess the time difference makes it difficult. Hugs.

  5. My heart aches for you Stu, as you continue to grieve for your mom. Thank you for sharing the article by Sherri Mandell, too. While her article focuses on child loss and the Newtown murders in particular, every piece of her advice is relevant to anyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one. As a bereaved mom myself, her statement that the only way to rise from tragedy is to find meaning, is so true. That, and the fact that we are all connected…

  6. All my love.

  7. Beautifully put, Stu.Blessings and hugs to you.

  8. You are so right Stuart. Thanks for the article. Take care.

  9. I totally relate to you Stu. I lost my mom Oct 2009. I am just starting to feel somewhat myself again. Although I will never be the same, crying as I read your story…I have tried to take anything,something, positive from the experience. It has been to treasure every moment with my loved ones. Not sweating the small stuff. Taking care of my own health so my children can have me for as long as possible. I see my mom a lot in my children, so that is of some comfort. The ever-lingering void of my moms unconditional love and support makes my heart ache for her! It will get better Stu. Don’t be too shy to reach for support, something I am guilty of. I know she would be so proud of how you are using your own emotions/feelings to help others! Hold on tight to your precious memories ❤

    • Cheryl, I’ve reached out for help, from friends and professionals. Shy is one thing I’m not: I know that, while my healing has to come from my own growing inner strength, I do need the counsel and support of others. Not everyone can do that…I know.

      Is what I’m writing helping others? I would like to think so. My goal, here, was to journal my journey. I wasn’t even thinking of this being inspirational for anyone else, so…it is good to hear that. Hugs to you as you continue to heal from the passing of your mom.

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