We try to console others. We try to heal our own broken hearts. While doing so, the one myth that we hear and accept most often is that "It just takes time." We are correct in knowing that with time, all things in life change; however, might I encourage you to not simply wait on time.
I took that advice and it indeed took me over eight years to move beyond the painful emotions of losing my best friend, my hero, my Dad. No one told me there were other options for help and that I could actually take action to lessen the pain, do the grief work, and move through my grief journey in a shorter amount of time.
It isn't our fault that we say that because that big elephant in the room subject of dying, death, and grief is a hush-hush topic that no one wants to talk about; yet, it is an event that will visit every household at some point and place itself on your calendar without your permission. It is my opinion and mission that we must do more to inform, educate and support on this sensitive topic in order to debunk this response to those who are grieving the loss of a dear loved one.
In addition, we must acknowledge that everyone's grief looks different. Why? Because we were all created with our own unique DNA and our responses to loss will be different. Consequently, no one knows the exact intimate relationship that you shared with your departed loved one. We must not use judgment to offer suggestions such as: you should be alone, don't visit the cemetery so frequently, get rid of all the memories quickly, replace the loss, don't cry... just to name a few.
As I write this article, I am working with a family of three siblings who are grieving the loss of a parent and the anger, bitterness, sadness, and blame amongst the siblings all imply that one is not "properly" grieving the loss. Let's be very careful as we support others during this emotional time of grief as we can't truly know or understand how they feel, even if we have experienced a similar loss.
Here are a few things to remember:
• Be careful and gentle as you impose your faith and beliefs on another as it relates to dying, death, grief, rituals, and even the afterlife.
• Never use "get over" as an end-all process or an immediate recommendation. One never truly gets over the loss of a loved one and grief bursts can appear at any time. With proper help and support they learn to better cope with the loss.
• Be open to allow the person to talk about the loss and their feelings. One might feel that helping is to distract the person and steer the conversation to another topic. Don't push, but if the person wants to talk about the deceased and their feelings, the best support you can offer is to listen.
Dora Carpenter is Founder and Program Director of From Grief to Gratitude Coach Certification Program. As a From Grief to Gratitude Certified Coach, you will have the knowledge, skills, resources, and confidence to coach clients through the transformative process of handling the painful emotions of losing a loved one, getting on top of their grief, and moving forward in life with meaning and purpose in the shortest time possible. To find a coach or learn to become a coach and help others through the grieving process, visit http://www.fromgrieftogratitude.com.
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