Counseling the Grief-Stricken

Catherine Lammert


Grief is a strong and complex emotion. It is experienced by some after an abortion or miscarriage. Most experience it upon the death of a loved one. Here are some practical suggestions on how we may help others cope with a loss in their life.

Supporting a Grieving Family

 

HOW TO HELP:

  • Be supportive — visit or call to say, “I care and want to help.”
  • Treat the bereaved couple equally. Men need as much support as women.
  • Be available. Parents need direct help, such as proving a meal, doing errands and babysitting their other children.
  • Allow the parents to talk about their child; ask but don’t pry.
  • Learn about the grieving process. There are many books available.
  • Don’t be afraid of reminding the parents about the child. They have never forgotten and letting them know you remember is comforting.
  • Be liberal in touching and/or hugging a grieving parent. They often have a need for physical contact.

 

WHAT TO SAY:

  • I’m sorry.
  • I’m so sad for your loss.
  • I know this must be terribly hard for you.
  • How are you managing all of this?
  • What can I do for you?
  • I’m here, and I want to listen.
  • Talk as long as you want. I have plenty of time.
  • You don’t have to say anything at all.

 

WHAT NOT TO SAY:

  • It’s all happened for the best.
  • You’re young. You can have others.
  • Now you’ll have an angel in heaven.
  • You’re better off having this happen now before you knew the baby.
  • This was God’s way of saying something was wrong.
  • You should feel lucky that you are alive.
  • Forget it. Put it behind you and get on with your life.
  • I understand (if you have NOT had a similar experience).
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