2012-05-30 “How You Can Help”

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.