Confronting GriefPosted: June 27, 2021
Grief. It makes some people uncomfortable. According to the In the June 23, 2021, Advocate for Mom and Dad article: How To Help Somebody You Love Through Grief by Kate Romeo, when people don’t know how to deal with an uncomfortable situation, they often just don’t. Instead, they may shy away from the opportunity and simply let the other grieve alone in silence. This is not heathy—not for the person who is grieving, nor for the person who is avoiding their own discomfort. To help someone you love through grief, Romeo recommends the following:
- Understand the Grieving Process. Acknowledge that everyone deserves to process their grief in a healthy way.
- Think About What To Say To a Grieving Loved One. Be prepared to acknowledge the individual by listening to the bereaved one talk about their loved one’s passing—or even sit in silence with them while they process their emotions. Don’t be afraid to express your concerns and emotions, as well.
- Offer Some Help and Support Them. Demonstrate your continued support by helping out during the difficult times when their functioning may be limited.
- Watch For Signs of Depression. Be on the alert for difficulty functioning with daily life, a proclivity to focus on death, and even evidence of hallucinations.
What to Do about Mama? Excerpts about grief.
Death and dying is one of the most difficult passages we travel with our loved ones. There may be a lot of “self-help” books out there, but no “instructions,” per se. When you discuss the topic with other people, it becomes apparent that the differences in how people perceive end-of-life issues are vast. Everyone has his or her own values and beliefs (based on their unique life experiences), and emotions can run quite high.
From Jenna’s Story:
However, toward the end it was my siblings and I who supported my mother’s physical health and my father’s emotional health, as his anticipatory grief was larger than I think even he realized.
In addition, I found that being able to talk about my mother was so very important. Oftentimes, when someone dies, no one wants to mention the person’s name to the close family members who are grieving. Even to this day—three years later—this still happens. But, I find that being able to share stories about her makes me feel better.
From Amelia’s Story:
People feel uncomfortable saying anything, so no one really expresses what they want or don’t want. Maybe they worry about hurting feelings; maybe it’s too emotionally painful to make difficult decisions. People think it won’t happen or want to pretend it won’t happen. They adopt the approach, “Since I don’t know what to say, I won’t say anything.”
From Ellen’s Story:
When my mother passed away, I felt lost. It was like losing a child. I felt unneeded—like I had lost a lot of my importance and purpose in life. Caregiving took up a large percent of my day, and suddenly having so much time on my hands was a difficult adjustment for me. I went through years of depression after losing my mother, who was also my best friend. Over the years, our mother-child roles had reversed so much.
From June’s Update:What to Do about Mama? pp. 224, 279, 280-281, 277, 282, 286
I sat vigil for most of the twenty-four hours. My husband, daughter, and son were with me for most of the time. I sent them home around eight p.m. All the clinical signs of impending death were there, but she didn’t want to let go. She was unresponsive, but at one point, when my family was with me, I attempted to do mouth care with a sponge/stick. From under the sheet, up came her fist, which she shook at me. We looked at one another and laughed. She was still mad at me. That was so Mom. Around five a.m., I had this strong feeling that she did not want me there. It was so clear. I packed up, alerted the nurses, and drove home. I had just fallen asleep when the nursing home called me to say that she passed. I did not feel any guilt. I knew that was what she wanted. Surprisingly, I have moved on with great peace.