Everyone’s grief journey is different… and the ability to emerge with your soul intact is dependent upon your willingness to do the excruciatingly difficult work that grieving requires. It is a long and lonely process, and no-one can accept the reality of YOUR loss for YOU… it is something that you must do for yourself. One of the things I’ve learned on my journey is that love is a force so powerful that it transcends death. – Joanne Fink
Here’s the alarming statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau to consider:
• Approximately 700,000 women lose their husbands each year and will be widows for an average of 14 years.
• 259 Million widows suffer in silence worldwide over the loss of a loved one.
Losing a loved one is one of life’s most devastating challenges. Sometimes, there is nothing a widow needs more than the reassuring voice of someone who has been down this path before.
We turned to the renowned designer and author of the upcoming book When You Lose Someone You Love, Joanne Fink for some practical HOW-TO action steps that would support and comfort us during the grieving process. Joanne lost her best friends and husband of 29+ years Andy in 2011. She has experienced it first-hand, within herself what it feels and takes to be in the grieving process.
Below are a few ways you can support someone who may be going through the grieving process.
HOW-TO Support Someone Grieving
1. Understand that you can’t fix this
There isn’t anything you can say or do to bring the person who died back. All you can do is accompany your loved one on their grief journey.
2. Reach out and continue to reach out
The grieving process takes a LOT longer than you can possibly imagine if you haven’t gone through it. Don’t expect someone to ‘get over it’ in a few weeks or months.
Part of the grieving process involves telling the story of how your loved one died… and then telling the story of how they lived.
4. Don’t worry about finding ‘the right words’
Simply saying “I’m so sorry for your loss” and giving a hug can bring great comfort.
5. Don’t be afraid to mention the name of the person who died
Creating a safe space to talk about their loved one won’t upset someone who is bereaved. Sharing stories and photographs can help them keep the legacy of their loved one alive.
6. Provide practical assistance
Don’t say ‘call me if you need anything’… people who are grieving are often disoriented and have trouble remembering things. They may not even remember that you offered to help, and even if they do remember, they probably won’t want to impose on you.
Instead, call and say “I’m on my way to the supermarket and am bringing you bread, eggs and milk– what else do you need?”
7. Firsts are REALLY hard – Acknowledge them!
Doing something for the first time without your loved one is incredibly difficult. Whether its going back to work, going on a trip or going to a party, it can help to have someone recognize and acknowledge these firsts.
If you are making a holiday dinner, invite the person who is grieving. They may leave early, or choose not to come, but knowing someone cares enough to reach out to you means a lot.
8. Remember special dates
Birthdays, both of the person who died and the person you are supporting, and anniversaries are milestones on your grief journey. Put these dates – and the date of death – in your calendar so you can call, text, or send a card. It will make more of a difference than you can possibly imagine.
Gratitude Is A Way Into Peace & Love – Please RETWEET
— Celebrate Woman (@DiscoverSelf) May 6, 2017