Helping Mourners

Many cultures have particular rituals surrounding the death of a loved one. Some grieve for one week non stop and then they’re done. Many hang a wreath on their front door, others wear black clothing as a reminder to be sensitive in the midst of grief.

In America, we get three bereavement days and then its business as usual.
Truly unbelievable that we’re expected to get on with it after three days.

Losing, “Our Person”, the one who was your rock, can be brutal. It’s like you’re sitting near the train track completely paralyzed by grief and observe the train,(life),moving in forward motion! Suffering from this tremendous tragedy, enduring this gaping wound... it seems inconceivable others just continue on with life!

Grief can be an incredibly lonesome journey. Often, expectations of our support system complicate our grief. 
We long for them to comfort us. Everyone grieves differently. Those who haven’t experienced death have no idea what you are going through.

It’s as if our support system is uncomfortable seeing us vulnerable.
Saying after the first year of losing your spouse, “You should be over it now”.
Often, they’re not even consciously aware of what they’re missing ie; weekly lunch date or your inability to be supportive in the way you before the death occurred.

People confuse grief with depression. The symptoms look similar however, they are not the same. Many place pressure on the bereaved suggesting they, “Move On”. Actually, people in the midst of grief are exhausted as it is all consuming. Unnecessary comments are Not helpful or encouraging, they simply add to their unbearable pain.

Suggestions to remove their loved ones belongings, begin dating, or if they suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth, telling them, “At least you can have another child” is honestly cruel and minimizes the severity of the loss they’ve endured. Be mindful of overstepping boundaries.

Many grief stricken don’t want to go out socializing. They’re not up to “having fun” they’re in pain. Can you imagine asking someone who recently had knee surgery to go out dancing? Of course not, we understand the need for rehab and recovery process. Why is grief different?

The more you judge and badger the bereaved, the more they will isolate for self protection. They are vulnerable and hurting. It might take every ounce of energy tending to their basic needs. If you don’t know what to say, simply be where they are in the here and now, in a non judging way. Prepare meals, offer hugs, recommend a grief group, things to make their lives easier. Show them Love.

Marla Ruhana