What is wilson silverleaf? We're organitarians; it's best for our bodies and the planet. We cloth diapered Nina for the same reason. We drive a hybrid car & wish we could afford solar panels on our house. I'm a strong advocate for homebirth, full-time mom, & also a movie junkie. We don't have a tv though; we watch dvds on our computer. We love contradancing. I garden & knit; Larry's a puzzle lover & plays fantasy football.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I realised after my grandpa died that I could give some advice. It's so hard to know how to comfort someone who has suffered a loss. So here's what I observed in the whole process.

What not to do when "comforting" the bereaved:
1. Tell a story about the relationship you had with the person's dead familymember. They had their own relationship with the person, and probably can't process your stuff too. Save it for a later time.
2. Ask how they're doing. If they're fine in that moment, you just reminded them that they're supposed to be sad. They may even feel guilty for not being devastated for a few moments. If they're not fine, they're probably working really hard to keep it together, and if it's you they want to talk to about it, you will know, you won't need to ask. They may even feel like they have to say, "fine" even if they're not because they can't or don't want to talk about it with you.
3. Take anything personally. It's not about you right now.
4. Bring/send cookies. Real food will be more nourishing to the soul and body and appreciated rather than tossed out.

What to do:
1. Just be there, listen if need be, but don't push. Don't judge. Leave and come back later if it seems like a you're not needed right then.
2. Wash some dishes.
3. Families close in--do your best not to intrude on that; be respectful of mealtimes. The evening meal may be the only time in the day the whole family is able to come together to mourn and maybe even laugh with one another.

1 comment:

Eliza said...

I love what you say about how to deal with grief. The part about reminding them of the grief and making them feel guilty is particularly true. Sometimes people ask how Phillip as a musician feels about Geoff's hearing loss. It's like they have a morbid curiosity that they just can't let go... Phillip is too introverted to tell them to stop talking.

I hope you enjoyed being with your family.