Family and friends mean well but sometimes they do not know how
to treat you while you are grieving. Here is a list of guidelines
that you may want to share with them:
Guidelines for Family and Friends
- Tears are the jewels of remembrance, sad but glistening with
the beauty of the past.
- Allow the grieving person to cry. Tears are healthy.
- Children, allow your parents to cry. Cry with them. You'll all
- Let the bereaved person talk about his/her loved one. You talk
and say the loved one's name too.
- Don't make small talk trying to cheer the person.
- Don't tell the bereaved to smile; he/she may not see anything
to smile about.
- Being bereaved is not a disease, and it's not catchy.
- Bereaved persons need to be needed and need support.
- Don't give advice such as, "sell the house, it's too big for
- Don't question every move or say you should do this or
- Call often, and ask if there is something you can do. (Be
prepared for the request. Be available to listen often.)
- When there is a birthday or anniversary of either the spouse or
widowed, call and say you know it's a difficult day, but you're
thinking of him/her. Ignoring the day only makes it worse.
- Read about grief so you can better understand what the bereaved
person is experiencing.
- Don't say, "I know just how you feel."
- Don't use platitudes like "life is for the living" or "it's
God's will." It's better to say nothing, or to simply say "I'm
sorry" or "I care."
- Recognize that the bereaved person may be angry; help him/her
acknowledge his/her anger and express it in ways that are not
hurtful to him/her or others.
- Don't say, "It's been four months/eight months/one year/etc.
You must be over it by now." There is no timetable for grief.
- Suggest exercise to help the bereaved work off bottled tension
and anger. This may help the bereaved to relax and it may aid
sleep. Offer to join the bereaved in going for a walk, a swim or a
- Be aware of good nutrition and the lack of motivation to
prepare food and eat well. Help the bereaved with meal preparation,
share a meal with the bereaved, or invite him/her out to eat.
- Don't avoid the bereaved. This adds to his/her loss.
- Practice continuing acts of thoughtfulness to the bereaved.
Take the initiative in calling him/her.
It Helps to Have a Friend
Who Will Listen - Author Unknown
"When I ask you to listen to me
and you start giving me advice, you have not done what I
When I ask you to listen to me
and you begin to tell me why I shouldn't feel that way, you are
trampling on my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me
and you feel you have to do something to solve my problems, you
have failed me, strange as that may seem.
Listen! All I asked was that you
listen, not talk or do-just hear me.
Advice is cheap; twenty cents
will get you both Dear Abby and Billy Graham in the same
And I can do for myself. I'm not
helpless. Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not
When you do something for me
that I can and need to do for myself, you contribute to my fear and
But when you accept as a simple
fact that I do feel what I feel, no matter how irrational, then I
can quit trying to convince you and can get about this business of
understanding what's behind this irrational feeling.
And when that's clear, the
answers are obvious and I don't need advice. Irrational
feelings make sense when we understand what's behind them.
Perhaps that's why prayer works,
sometimes, for some people-because God is mute and doesn't give
advice or try to fix things.
He just listens and lets you
work it out for yourself.
So please listen and just hear
And if you want to talk, wait a
minute for your turn-and I'll listen to you."