"Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day."
Make a personal commitment to help the one grieving get through this journey. After a death, many friendships change or disintegrate. People don't know how to relate to the one who is grieving, or they get tired of being around someone who is sad. There is always a huge wave of support at the time of loss and for several days after but they will still be at this process six months from now and a year from now. Vow to see your friend or loved one through this, to be their anchor in their darkest hour. . It may be a good idea to get together with their other close friends and share some of the responsibility. So use your imagination. Anything you can do to help your friend will let them put more energy into healing, which is what they really need to do. You will need simply to be there with them as they experience what is probably the fiercest sadness and pain of their entire lives. Don't search for profound words or try to think of saying something meaningful. Your presence and doing the simplest tasks is the most helpful gesture of compassion. They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel . Be comfortable with tears – yours and other's - they can be a bond, an encouragement. If you don't know what to say, simply say 'I'm sorry.' The words are not important, but they convey a sense that you know and care.
- Be available and accepting . Avoid telling them what they feel or what they should do.
- Express genuine sorrow
- Silence is ok
- Call or visit your friend frequently. Call and say "I called to see if you wanted to just chat for a while or talk. If you're not up for talking, I can call back later or in a day or two." Leave it up to your friend as to what they want to talk about, or if they want to talk at all.
- Call them just to check up and offer to visit, if they are not up to it at the time you call, don't take it personally, try again.
- Don't expect the person to reach out to you. Many people say, "Call me if there is anything I can do." At this stage, the person who is grieving will be overwhelmed at the simple thought of picking up a phone. If you are close to this person, simply stop over and begin to help. Those who are grieving need this but don't think to ask. There are many people in the good times—but few that are there in life's darkest hour.Make suggestions and initiate contact with the bereaved.Don't let discomfort, fear, or uncertainty stand in the way of making contact and being a friend. Decide on a task you can help with and make the offer.
- Please do not say "if there is anything I can do just let me know"
- Please do say "I am available Day- Date- time for (the task). Use me.
- Run errands to the grocery store, drug store, post office, dry cleaners – any trip that interrupts the daily schedule. Make a list of everything that needs to be done with the bereaved. This could include everything from financial matters to picking up laundry. Prioritize these by importance. Help the bereaved complete as many tasks as possible. If there are many responsibilities, find one or more additional friends to support you.
- There's always work to do around the house . A little dusting, a load of laundry, making meals and cleaning up not only relieves your friend of the chores, but gives them company while they attend to some things.It is important for them to have their space and they do need time alone, but they also lack the emotional energy to structure their lives during the grieving process. Having someone in the house who takes over the details of running the home is so helpful as they sometimes can't even think of the things they need.
- Determine when close support system will begin ending and plan to intervene for continued support.
- Offer your car with the driver for one day if only for ziyarat.
- Offer to do business/tax preparations, legal services, etc.
- Offer to drive the one who is grieving to appointments. When emotions are compromised, being alone in public places can be frightening. The presence of someone is reassuring.
- Help them do the hard things. The mountain of paperwork that erupts following a tragedy is overwhelming. Legal documents, policies, certificates, what have you, must all be accounted for and in order. Help as you are able and seek resources when they can't. It's this aspect that undermines the grief process and compromises time and energy.They may need to handle some legal issues that are difficult, or things related to the incidence of death may be too hard for them.
- Your offer to walk through it with them is invaluable. There are a lot of things to do that come with the loss of a loved one.Prepare help sheets with appropriate information eg legal, financial, useful helplines, etc.
I walked a mile with Pleasure;
She chattered all the way.
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow
And ne'er a word said she;
But oh, the things
I learned from her
walked with me!
-Robert Browning, Poet
Amte Syedna TUS