When Someone Is Grieving
Updated: Nov 16, 2021
I thought it was important to repost this blog at this time of year.
What not to say when someone is grieving
Let me start with a disclaimer. I am not an expert on grief. That sounds even weird as I type it. Yes, I have experienced grief in my life, but I have not studied this topic intensively. In order to inform myself in how to best help a friend of mine ( who's is reading this) I listened to a few interviews with my favorite podcasters. If interested listen to episode 138 of "Vibrant Happy Women" by Jen Riday and episode 255 of "The Life Coach school" with very interesting guests who have experienced loss. So, I lost my mom when I was six years old, my dad when I was 42, I only met one set of grandparents and they died before I was 10. I experienced a heavy loss also when I moved to the states as a young 21 year old. I had to grief the loss of my family, friends, country, language, everything that familiar to me. What they pointed out in the interviews is, that there's no linear line of grief. No: first you do this, then you grief like that, and lastly it looks like this. There are many variables to each story. I was surprised to learn that Kubler Ross's stages of grief were not intended to be applied to grief but to death. She later said she didn't like that people misinterpreted her work as a how to grief guide.
It is important that the grieving person can tell his or her story as often as needed. One option might be a grief group, often offered in Communities and churches. Or you can see a therapist or journal. Or do all three. Remember that there's no reason to grief if there was no love. For the grieving party, and the friend circle, please know, that there's no right or wrong way to grief. Some cry for a long time, some don't cry at all. Some are angry, some lost. All are in some kind of a brain fog. It is up to the grieving party to decide if and when to find the gift of the grief. We want to help, and we all have good intentions, but what's appropriate?
Here are a few don'ts: -don't compare their loss to yours or someone else's -don't say you know how they feel even if you had your own experience. Your experiences are not the same -don't say "how are you". I'm guilty of that , I had no idea that might be a hard question. It is better to ask "how are you today?" -don't say "God wanted that person in heaven" , he doesn't need that person and that would be a cruel God
You can always say :"I love you and I'm so sorry for your loss." Sometimes I ask straight out :"How can I support you?"
There's no clean rule book for the grieving as in : this is how long you wear black, this is when you take the ring off, this is when you start dating again, this is when you stop crying. No rule book. You grief any which way you need to. It's not a time line where you can say, "Now it's over". Let your experience be what it is. It is yours. And only yours.
Ashley Davis Bush: "You will never be your old self again. You are growing into a new self."
A good friend gave me an article about loss in my 30 's and it said "It will never be the same again" regarding loosing my mom. And somehow that comforted me. I didn't have to try to fit in or have the same life as other's. Oh, and yes, I am still grieving the loss of my mom. For the grieving: I hope you will allow yourself to grieve your way. For the friends: I hope you found something useful today. You can never go wrong with love.
You are loved. Deeply loved. Loved beyond measure.
Until next time, Isabelle
Call or write for a free 20 minute life coaching session #732-331-2246 Isabellestephensoncoach@gmail.com