Often friends and family don’t seem to understand how to be with and support us when we are grieving.
Many people just are not going to understand what you are going through. They don’t know how to speak with grieving people, are uncomfortable with their emotions, and feel inadequately prepared. So, they do what most people would do in such circumstances; they find ways to avoid it, or say things that really don’t help.
Some people think they know how to be with a grieving person. But they are usually 180 degrees off course. They may try to fix you. They may say judgmental things to you that are hurtful but aren’t intended that way. They may unwisely offer platitudes and poor advice.
Before I keep dumping on your friends and family for not getting it, I want to remind you that most people don’t understand grief until they experience it. I am horrified at how poorly I supported my grieving friends before my husband’s death. How were you with your grieving friends? When I think of that, I am humbled and much less judgmental. Our friends and family need our help.
They could probably better support you if they understood your pain and what you needed from them. But, people generally aren’t prepared to step in without guidance. Who will provide that to them? Most likely – you.
People need guidance to help others who are experiencing loss. And, the guidance most often needs to come from the griever. We have a video that might help titled The Grief Letter, which is part of the Series: Relationships After Loss on MyGriefCare.com. Many of our clients have had great success with this letter idea and do it as a written letter, email or social media post or group text. The video will give you some great ideas about communicating with people who aren’t giving you the support you’d like.
If you aren’t comfortable telling people what you need, you can always share a copy of my book “When Their World Stops: The Essential Guide to TRULY Helping Anyone in Grief”. It’s a quick and easy read and will open the reader’s eyes to understanding grief and how to support grieving people.
Questions to Ponder:
- When you think about people you had hoped would support you better or more, do you think they might do better if they understood what you really need (and what you don’t need)? Are you willing to write them a grief letter?
- If you look back in the past, would you have been in a position to do a better job helping a grieving friend if you knew then what you know now? What would you have done differently?
You hold the key to getting the support and understanding you want. Kindly tell people what you need – because they have no idea, just like many of us before we lost our loved ones.