Helping Friends through Grief

Angel of Grief, Sculpture by William Wetmore Story

In a word, don’t.

And I say that because unless you know what you are doing, you might cause more grief and hurt. Most of us get anxious around people who grieve because we are scared of loss ourselves, even if  we are not conscious of it. Most of us don’t know how to behave around loss and grief, even if we have experienced some personal loss of our own.

If you really want to help, just be Present for them. People have their own grieving processes. Everyone is different. If need be, you tap for your own anxiety and helplessness around loss and grief.

Some of the LEAST  helpful things to say when some one has lost a loved one:

Don’t worry, you’ll get over it, you’ll be all right.
It’s meant to happen.
Now you are the man of the house.
He has gone to heaven.
I know how you feel.
Don’t cry, it’s all right.
What did you do to make that happen…. why didn’t you….
Change yourself to change others….

If you have to say something, here’s a suggestion from someone who had recently lost a loved one.

“I dont know what to do or say but I’m here for you. I’m here to support you in the way that you need me to. I don’t have the answers and may be I’m scared that I will say/do the wrong thing, so may be I may seem uncomfortable. But I’m here for you.”

If you have some experience with personal tragedy, and have suggestions for people who want to “help”, please feel free to comment – what was most helpful? what was least helpful? how did you want to be supported?

Resources for Dealing with Grief and Loss

In memory of Daniel Herrmann.

 

 

Surviving Mid Life Transition

The problem with cliches, is that they are horribly trite but generally true. Such is the dreaded mid life transition, usually labelled mid life crisis. I remember thinking, when I was 17, that life was generally over when one gets past 30. Then my 30s rolled around, and I liked that decade better than my 20s. Then came my 40s, and I liked that better than my 30s.

But then something morphed. A deep unseating, dislodging, unhinging. We journey into that long dark night of the soul. The ego is built up in the first parts of our lives. Then mid-life rolls around, and we begin that process of painful dismantling, uncomfortable realisations. We ditch things that no longer work for us: jobs, relationships, self-image.

Misery, confusion, frustration, struggle…. these are all going to be there. Like it or not, it will be more painful, or less painful, but pain is going to be there. On a scale of one to ten, it is generally at least a level six in terms of intensity.

The thing is to allow and embrace the changes (eventually) and be in touch with the unfolding of our own inner wisdom. Easier said than done. One needs direction. One needs context. One needs techniques.

Would anyone be interested to explore this issue? Drop me some comments please.

Oh, and here are some snippets from my journey.

There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after. – J.R.R Tolkien