Grief is never easy, but it can be made or become easier. There are many ways your grief load can become lighter with the changing of certain factors in your mourning, but the best way is to increase somehow the amount of support, encouragement and care you receive from those around us. How can you make your grief easier?
Many mourners experience a lack of supportive people around them. The majority of those folks who are poor comforters just don’t have a clue about grief, what you are going through and what you might need. And I would guess that the majority of the people around you are compassionate, empathetic and want to help, they just don’t know how. How can you change that situation?
- Teach your friends, family and co-workers about grief, specifically your grief experience.
People around mourners get it that something horrible has happened and that you hurt. They don’t always “get” grief and its impact on you. Because they don’t understand grief and how it affects you, they feel helpless and uncomfortable about what to do. When people feel uncomfortable they can say and do things that end up not being very helpful and sometimes harmful.
You as a griever can help potential supporters by explaining and expressing the grief that you are experiencing. That means telling your story as many times as it takes to find a person who can become an important part of your support system. That means you have to get over your fears that what you’re sharing with others will make them sad or drive them away from you. At the same time, you need to walk a fine line between sharing enough and sharing too much or too often with the person who is supportive.
- Tell the folks around you, what you need.
If you don’t ask for what you need in your grief, most likely you may not get it. So don’t’ be afraid to ask for what you need from potential supporters who are compassionate and sympathetic toward your story and experience. That way you raise your chances of getting help, support, encouragement and care that will lighten your grief burden.
If they offer to help in ways that you had not expected, be gracious and accept their gift of love and compassion as long as it is not overly intrusive. Remember: it is a blessing for them to be able to help you. So what happens when you reject a gift is that you steal their potential blessing that they can experience. If they give unsolicited advice, accept it with a smile and tell them politely what you really need is for them to be present, to be available and to listen without judging or trying to fix you or your situation.
If they ask how they can help and you don’t know exactly what you need from them, thank them for listening and say that you will have to think over their offer of help and let them know later. In the meantime, ask them to close and available to listen to what you are experiencing.
Remind them that grief is a natural human response to loss of a loved one and that it is not an illness, mental or emotional disorder, a bad perspective or attitude, or a sin. So there is nothing wrong with you. You will just need time to process and progress in your grief. Also let them know that there is no set timetable on grief and that you may need help, support, encouragement and care for some time.
By doing these steps you will potentially increase your support system and the amount of help you receive in your grief journey.