You Don't Have to Be Alone in Grief
BY: Mollie Postotnik, MA, AT, PC
CATEGORY: Grief and Loss
PUBLICATION: About Grief
Many grieving people report that they feel abandoned by their families and friends. It's not that people intend to abandon them in their grief, but some people just do not know what to do or say to the bereaved person when someone dies. They feel helpless, so they either pull away or try to "fix" them. Neither way is helpful. Even if someone has had the same type of loss, he or she cannot possibly know how another person feels. Each person's grief is unique to them and their situation, life experiences, beliefs about death, relationship with the person who died, and their own emotions.
As a grieving person, many times you have to be your own advocate. You have to educate those around you about grief. Let people know the ways in which they can support you. Perhaps you would like a call, text message, a card, or email every few days. Maybe you would like them to come and sit with you for a little while. Perhaps you don't want contact with people for a few weeks, but would welcome a call a month after the funeral.
Many people would like to be helpful, but do not know how and are afraid to ask. Assure them it's all right to ask. Let them do errands or clean or cook for you if you're comfortable with that. If they try to tell you how long your grief should take or how you should grieve, let them know that everyone's grief is different and each person has to find what works for them. Request them to just support you rather than try to fix you.