Sunday, April 5, 2009

Giving Comfort

I read this in the readers digest and I thought it was perfect to the way I feel and what I have learned.

"I have a set of lessons learned about how to console those who have suffered a loss, based on my own personal experience and observation over the years.

First go to the funeral. Thirty years ago, mayor richard lee of new haven connectictu, told me that he always went to funerals. It's there that you see people, he said, and that they see you. It's there that you mingle with families, listen to them talk, and lend your full support. I had never heard that advice stated so explicitly, but he was exactly right. Death opens an enormous hole in the heart. A funeral service brings together those who can help fill that hole.

Second, call or write your friend when someone close to her or him had died. It is remarkable how few people actually reach out in tough times. Perhaps they don't know what to say; perhaps they think the person would prefer to be left alone. It is better to try and be rejected than to never try at all. Your friend can always resist the effort not answer the phone, not open the letter. But it is hard to imagine anyone not appreciateing it.

Third, never say "you will get over it." People rarely do.

The death of a loved one rips us apart, shakes us up , hurts terribly. So my fourth tip is to embrace the person who suffers. I think of the kiss my mother would give me when I would scrape my knee or cut my finger. Her act of love was more healing than any antiseptic.

Make it clear in the letter or phone call to your friend that she or he is wonderful. The outstretched arm, the warm embrace, the freshly baked cookies, or the frgrant flowers do not replace the life. Not by any means. But they do say to the grieving friend, "you are loved.
You are cherished. "

These are some of the best words I have heard and I have learned a lot going through this experience and I will follow this council whenever I know someone who suffers from a death. I know those people who did reach out helped so much. Love Tara