How do you help bereaved people?
– Your presence is very important –sometimes it doesn’t matter what you say; what matters is that you are there. A hug, a touch, a kiss can provide a great deal of comfort.
– Offer to help with practical matters such as shopping, errands, a drive to the lawyer, etc.
– Encourage the bereaved person to talk about the deceased; their feelings and their concerns.
– BE A GOOD LISTENER! Remember that the stories that get told over and over are the stories that are most important to a person.
– Be willing to admit “I don’t know” when a grieving person asks “why”? It is more often an expression of pain than it is a question expecting an answer.
– Learn to recognize the symptoms of grief. This enables you to say to a grieving person “you are perfectly normal”.
– Be patient. Remember the period of recovery is determined by many factors and nobody recovers overnight. The person will never “return to normal” but rather adapt to a new life.
– Encourage the bereaved person to express his or her feelings and then accept whatever feelings are expressed without taking them personally.
– Pay special attention to children. Children grieve differently from adults. But one thing for sure is that they need the security of their family at this time.
– Discourage a person from making major changes within the first year.
– Be aware of health changes. Encourage a grieving person to go to a doctor.
– Remember that weekends, holidays and evenings are most difficult. All of the “firsts” (e.g. the first Christmas, the first anniversary, the first birthday will be difficult.
– Be willing to take the initiative for the first while. Many grieving people don’t think that people want to listen to their problems so they don’t reach out.
– Make yourself aware of agencies that are available for bereaved people. We have a list here at the Blenheim Community Funeral Home of agencies in Chatham-Kent. Let us know if you need a copy and we will get one to you.