Saturday Morning Message: Supporting Others in Grief
Author: Carol Lane
When someone you know experiences the death of a loved one, words just don't seem enough. Finding ways to help others who are grieving can be easier when you think of the support others gave you. Thanks to the survivors who wrote this week as they reflected on what was meaningful to them and used those memories to generate hints on best ways to reach out when someone else may need a helping hand.
This week's question focuses on our own healing. Often when we are in the fog of missing our loved one, listening to others and contributing our thoughts may help us heal and give us new coping strategies. Anger is one of the emotions that can be difficult. The anger may be at ourselves or others. Let's ask survivors to write in to tell us: What do you do to help yourself get more positive when you feel anger? We will share the answers in next week's message.
If you would like to send a response to the question of the week or have a subject that you might want to hear responses from other survivors, just hit the Reply button and the information will come directly to me. I would love to hear from you anytime about anything. It doesn't have to be a reply to the Saturday message. Sometimes just writing to someone is helpful. You can email me anytime at email@example.com
FROM TAPS SURVIVORS:
From Leslie, mother of Eugene: Recently, a friend of the family had a personal tragedy with the loss of their daughter/sister. She was a young mother who slipped on the top landing and fell down the stairs holding the baby in a manner in which the baby was unharmed. She died nearly two months later from her head injury. I went over to visit with the family and to speak to them individually. I reflected on my loss. I encouraged them to get help or join a bereavement group. It's new and they are raw with emotions. Hopefully, my experiences will help them find their new normal.
From Mary-Ann, surviving mother of Blake: I feel the answer to this question needs to be answered according to the needs of the person or family. Sometimes the best help you can give someone is a hug and the comfort of letting them know you care. Prayer for the person or family I feel always helps. However, be aware that many don't want to hear of prayer since they become angry with God. Sometimes certain tasks become overwhelming. There are many ways to help by just being a friend and lending a helping hand when and where you see the need which could be bringing food, taking the griever out for a meal, taking the kids to school, running by the grocery store, helping with the chores around the house or helping with the children, so the adults can have some personal time to themselves. You can let the children know you are there for them, too.
I had someone from our church send me some help after the funeral was over and a few days passed to help get my house back in order. I will never forget what a blessing it was to have the help she sent me. The lady only helped one afternoon, but between the two of us we were able to get my house back in a reasonable clean and orderly state again. I was in such a state myself that I could hardly lift a finger to do for myself let alone clean up behind everyone! Thanks to Shannon and her helper a heavy load was removed from my shoulders. These types of things only take a little time and effort, but can mean soooooo much to the griever!
From Andre, surviving father of Andrea: I tell the families that I am a good listener and I am here if needed. I try to call every 2 weeks. Some people are too sad to ask for help. If it is a sibling that has been killed, I tell the parents to be aware of their other children. They are hurting just as the parents are. I may share the first chapter of a book that I am writing called A Father's Quiet Tears. I want them to know there is still hope in the world and that they can make it. Over the past seven years, my family has been through a lot. My daughter was killed in Iraq in 2007 while on a peacekeeping mission, her fiancée at that time was killed this summer in a car crash, there have been health issues, and two major car crashes. It seemed as if every time we would try to get to the top of the mountain something would happen to knock us back down,,,, but I can say now that we see the light at the end of the tunnel and it is not a train. It is the light of hope. I believe in the saying: "Give people light and they will find their own way.
From Christine, surviving mother of Cord: My son Cord passed away on May 23, 2013, as a result of a car accident while on duty. The joy he brought to our family can never be replaced. He was loved by so many and l take such pride in the lives he touched in his short 19 years. When we decided to take him off life support l whispered in his ear that momma's here and it's OK. He turned his head over to me as if to say thank you and l love you. That was a gift l hold tightly.
My mother encouraged me to read a sweet story called Love you Forever by Robert Munsch. l used to read this book to Cord at night before he went to bed when he was little. I soon realized this was the last time l would be able to read to him. I am so grateful to my mother for encouraging and helping me have the strength to do this one act of love. One of the lines in the book says, "When that boy was sleeping his mother would sneak in his room and rock him back and forth and back and forth, and as that boy laid there she held him and sang. I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be". l sat by my son's bed and read to my sweet boy and gently held him and rocked him back and forth while singing to him one last time. Thank you mom, l love you. Grief and recovery are a legacy we will carry forever, but we don't have to carry it alone.
The Saturday Morning Message (SMM) is a weekly communication; written and contributed to by survivors. The primary focus of the SMM is to foster peer based connection, survivors helping survivors, for support and encouragement along the grief journey. It is the goal of this communication to foster a safe, supportive atmosphere where we can openly share in a non-judgmental and caring manner. Read and contribute as you are comfortable, and explore any opinions/ideas shared that are most beneficial to you on your individual journey. Content submitted for inclusion in the SMM is edited for spacing considerations and grammatical corrections.
If you ever need to speak to someone regarding an urgent matter or just need a listening ear, the loving family at TAPS is available to you 24 hours a day. Please feel free to contact TAPS at 1-800-959-8277.