Reaching Out To People Who Grieve
Four 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)
Posted on January 13, 2013, in Caring, Counsling, Despair, Family, Fear, Friends, Grief, Inspiration, Loneliness, Love, Mindfulness, Prayers, Psalms, Spiritual, Support, Transformation and tagged abandonment, alone, anger, anxiety, bravery, compassion, concern, coping, death, depression, emptiness, frustration, God, Grief, hope, Loneliness, love, Memories, Newton, Newtown, Sandy Hook, Sherri Mandell, strength, Talking to God, The Jewish Week, The Koby Mandell Foundation, Tragedy, understanding. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.