This is coming from someone, who once worked on construction. I am saying this for a reason…..grief is the hardest work one will ever do. Grief is exhausting. Your body will ache. The summer I worked on construction, my body ached at the end of the day. The physical pain when dealing with grief was WORSE.
People will console you….for three weeks; afterward, they will think it’s time for you to move on. Little do they know, grief is not like getting over the flu. They are afraid to mention your loved one’s name because they don’t want to remind you of your loved one…..as if you aren’t already thinking of the one you lost nonstop. People will offer advice, such as I know how you feel, My niece died or My dog died. Be assured that it is not the same.
Well, my son died in November 1991. Nothing I can do will replace him. I joined a support group, The Compassionate Friends (TCF). It’s a worldwide support group that meets once a month. This group kept me from going insane. If you’ve lost a child, please see if there is a group in your area.
TCF taught me – If you lose your parent, you lose your past; if you lose your spouse, you lose your present; if you lose a child, you lose your future. There is NO TIMELINE for grief. We all grieve at our own pace.
There are also bereavement groups for people, grieving the loss of anyone, be it spouse, sibling, friend, even a pet. Hearing from people, who’ve walked in your shoes, is very comforting. One thing I’ve learned is time does NOT heal all; however, time does take you further from the moment.
The BEST thing a friend can do is say, I’m sorry and give you a hug. They will say, Call me if you need me. Heck, you don’t know what you need. You’ve never experienced this.
Now, I want you to know this, if you can work the stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression & Acceptance; you can feel & laugh again. This is not to say you will completely get over it. That is NOT an option; however, you can live a normal life. It will just be a new normal life.
If you would like to learn more of how I coped with grief, read the ebook, Rise Above: Conquering Adversities 2nd Edition. It’s also available in paperback. All the best to you.
THE best thing that helped me following the loss of my son was The Compassionate Friends (TCF). It is a group of bereaved parents that meets at 7 PM the second Tuesday of every month in chapters worldwide. It’s comforting to hear someone say, “I know how you feel,” and they really do.
Too, the best way to console a bereaved person, in my opinion, is to just be present. Hugs are very much needed. This may sound dorky, but the hug should be a warm holding hug unlike a pat on the back hug. Too often when people try to console someone, they give a burp the baby hug. Don’t do that. Bereaved parents need touch not burping.
One thing they don’t need is advice, such as, Your child’s in a better place. That may be true; regardless, the parents still wish their child was with them. Or, It’ll just take time. It’s not like getting over the flu. Or, The Lord needed an angel. Let Him get His own angel. Or, If there is anything I can do, call me. They are not going to call you, because they have no idea what they need. The first six months (approximately), they are in shock.
Three weeks after the death of a child, people stop mentioning the child’s name. They don’t want to remind the parent. The child is always on the parent’s mind. Hearing someone say the child’s name is much needed and will be music to their ears.
Please be encouraged to share on this site your experience with grief. This may include your experience of helping someone cope with grief.