Counseling the Grief-Stricken
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).