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Todays Topic:  “Grieving Etiquette & Tips”
If you know someone who has experienced the loss of a loved one, it may be helpful for you to understand what to say and what not to say during their time of bereavement.

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This show highlights a few Grieving Etiquette Tips

Grieving is a very emotional and personal journey. As most of you may already know, the stages of the grief process are unpredictable.  You never know what emotion you will feel or when you will feel it.

If you know someone who has experienced the loss of a loved one, it may be helpful for you to understand what to say and what not to say during their time of bereavement and keep these two (2) Tips in mind.

(1.)  Allow those who are grieving to feel what they feel.

Those who are grieving understand that you have good intentions and that you mean well. But, some statements can cause more damage than good.  Following are a few statements you may want to avoid:  

–  It’s time for you to move on.

–  Stop crying, it will be alright.

–  Cry.  Crying will make you feel better.  The person may not be ready to cry.

–  You should be over it now.  It’s been over a year.

–  Are you going to sell your house?

–  Time to move on.

–  Get it together

–  You look a mess.  Comb your hair.

–  Why are you so depressed?

–  Are you considering remarrying?

(2.)  Allow Your Actions To Speak Louder Than Your Words By:

Asking Question:  Ask if they need anything and follow their request. If they say they need to be alone for a while, honor the request.

Speaking Love With Food:  Speak with food.  Even if the one who is grieving is not eating, they have guests who will.  And at some point, those who are grieving will want to eat.  How lovely to have a line-up of frozen meals and other necessities during the days and weeks of numbness that follow.

Sending help:  Contact other friends and religious or community organizations close to the family that might create a list of those willing to bring food, write thank-you notes, offer to do errands, grocery shop or organize bills.  Life stops entirely for the bereaved in those early weeks and months but it does not stop for the world.  Help them navigate through the bleak upcoming weeks and months in practical ways.

Listening: Read their emotional signals.  If he/she just wants a hug and cannot speak, don’t push for a conversation.  Just sit with him/her.  Don’t feel awkward due to the silence.  Be still and just Be there.

Respecting Their Pain: Do respect boundaries. If a grieving family or friend decides to remembering something about their loved one and speaks it, then shuts down immediately from overwhelming pain, NEVER push or say  “It’s important that you talk about him and remember him.”  The brain processes sensory overload in its own time and pace.

Thinking of your friend first: Do not launch into your own grief story unless you sense that it will offer something worth hearing.  You may have to wait months or years for it to be useful to your friend. Remember, this is about your friend’s needs and story, not yours.

Seeking Help / Suicide Alert:  If you feel that your friend or family member is sinking into a dangerous abyss of isolation and depression, please seek help.  If your calls and texts are not returned, stop by or have someone stop by to check on them.  If their is no communication and with anyone and nobody has seen or heard from him/her, get to their home and check in on them.

Building a foundation: Do ask if he/she would like you to help set up a foundation or fund or scholarship in the loved one’s name.  People may want to contribute in some way, and for some, writing a check or giving money is the way they feel most comfortable helping.  The bereaved may also want to set up donations to a charity in lieu of flowers.

Staying Positive: Do not give up on those who are grieving.  Stay in touch on a regular basis.  If your calls or texts are not returned, do not take it personal.  This is not the time to abandon your friend or family member. Grieving is a process and takes time.  It affects people in different ways.  Just be patient and remain positive.

The spirit of what your friend needs to hear is simply this:
–  Hang in there.
–  You are brave.
–  You are not alone although this journey is deeply lonely.
–  You are loved.
–  You will not always feel this way.
–  We honor the pain and life-altering experience you are having.
–  We are here to help you.
–  Tell us if you need something.
–  Nobody is judging you.
–  We are heartbroken for you.
–  No matter what, we will walk beside you.

Showing your support can be accomplished in many ways.  That support coupled with kind words can be the comfort and solace a friend needs during their time of loss and reflection.

Psychology Today
“WAR” By Charles Jenkins

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