Tag Archives: Grief

Question number 11: What Happens if One Doesn’t Grieve For Their Loved One?

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The original Angel of Grief in Rome.

The original Angel of Grief in Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Louise,

What Happens if One Doesn’t Grieve For Their Loved One?

Hi,

Thank you for your question.  I believe that when a person makes a decision, generally they feel that it’s the best decision they can make for themselves at that moment. Therefore, if a person doesn’t grieve for their loved one then I dare say there must be a good reason.

Let’s look at some of the reasons one might not grieve for their loved one…

1. To do so can be scary. The person may not be ready to accept the fact that the one they love is gone.

2. There could be a fear of expressing the level of intense emotions that grieving can bring about. To succumb to these emotions may make one feel overwhelmed and out of control.

3. This person might feel as though they need to be strong for other loved ones who may be having a hard time.

4. Maybe they are grieving. Perhaps they  are doing it in a way that is unique to who they are which makes it harder for others to understand.

5. Maybe they are grieving, but they choose to release their emotions privately.

6. Lastly, and this one is hard to write, maybe they are not grieving, because the loved one may not have been loved by them for reasons only they know.

This is not an exhaustive list. I’m sure that there are many reason for this type of behavior.  However, I think I should mention that there is almost no wrong way to grieve. The only exception would be if the person were to do something that would endanger their life or the lives of others. If you know someone whom you feel is not grieving the loss of a loved one be patient with him or her.  Be available for them. Accept them and their timetable.  Let them know that whenever they want to talk or pray you are there.  Keep an eye on them, (Please be subtle) Just in case you can impart a kindness without them asking.

The fact that you ask this question says a lot about you.  You seem like a person who cares. If you want more information, do some research on the Internet.  You will find many sites that can offer more insight.

On a personal note, I would like to apologize for the late response to this question.  This question came while I was grieving the death of my brother and I just couldn’t bring myself to answer it.  It took many months before I could get to a place where I could start writing again. I hope it’s not too late.

In conclusion, I will leave you with this quote…

Grief is a most peculiar thing; we’re so helpless in the face of it. It’s like a window that will simply open of its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it.” Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

Blessings,

Louise

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Question number eight: How can I help a friend who is grieving the loss of a loved one?

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Dear Louise,

My friend is suffering due to a death in their immediate family.  I want to reach out to help but I don’t want to intrude. Do you have some tips on how I can be supportive without overstepping my boundaries?

Sincerely,

-A Friend Who Cares

Dear Friend,

There are very few things in life worst than experiencing the death of a loved one. Providing support for someone who is grieving can be challenging.  With one wrong move we can say or do something that might act as a trigger and create more pain to an already hard situation.  However, it is not good to stand back and do nothing.  I have lived long enough to have lost, unfortunately, many loved ones.  I have also had the privilege to be able to support friends and family who were in mourning.   What I have learned along the way is that what the mourner needs from others the most for us to apply the principles of L.O.V.E.  I created this acronym to stand for the following:  L- Listen, O- Observe, V-Value, E-Empathize

1. Listen:

Take time to listen.  Listening is a skill that needs to be learned.  You are effectively listening when you let the other person speak freely without interruption, without interruption, without interruption!!!  This is not the time to give advice or share your opinion, story, point of view etc…  If you truly want to listen, then you must truly be quiet and allow the other person to speak for as long as they want until THEY feel that they have been heard.  A person who is grieving may want to talk about their feelings and need someone whom they can trust to speak to.  If that person is you please remember that its about them not you.  This will require humility, and patience.

 

2. Observe:

In other words, pay attention to your surroundings to the person who is mourning. Become acclimated with their mannerism and look for opportunities to help.  Buy groceries if you notice they are missing.  If the doorbell is ringing, answer it.  Paying attention allows you to help in specific ways.  For example, you notice you’re your friend’s home is a little untidy and you know there are guest coming.  You can offer to help clean.  This is more beneficial then saying, “If you need anything let me know.” Most people who are mourning are generally so overwhelmed that they wouldn’t even know what to ask for.  So offer to give rides to out of town relatives instead.  You will find more to do by building your observation skills.  By the way, always give them the option to say no and respect it.

3. Value:

Value is about respect.  Do not judge mourner behavior or words in a negative light.  You might see a person who is grieving say or do something strange.  If it is not hurting anyone, leave him or her to it.  Their journey is their own.  They have a right to their feelings and emotions.   They have a right to do what they need to in order to find healing and peace.  Never belittle them, instead, quietly support them.

4. Empathize:

To truly understand somebody, you have to walk in their shoes.  You will see behavior that may not make any sense if you judge it from your worldview and perspective.  You must try to image what life looks like at that moment using their filter.  When in doubt always ask yourself, “If I were in their shoes, what would I have done?” This will help you be more sensitive to their needs and enable you to be able to help effectively.

There is a lot of information out there on this topic.  I encourage you to read books on this topic, look up blogs, and talk to some professional counselors and clergy for advice.  The sad truth is this.  Sooner or later we will all be in a positions where our friend will need our help because they are grieving.  May we all be ready…  I will leave you with this quote.

Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve. – Earl Grollman

Blessings,

Louise

If you have any comments, feel free to post them below.  Any questions can be sent to lifeaccordingtolouise1@gmail.com