How To Help In Time Of Mourning
By – Josephine Agbonkhese
One of the many things we are called to do, in times of tragedy, is to “mourn with those who mourn” just as we also are to rejoice with those who rejoice.
But walking through a period of mourning with those who have suffered great loss, especially that of a loved one, could be really tricky as many people, most of the time, do not know exactly what to say, what not to say, or how not to act.
Hence, they end up inflicting more pain.
In reaction to the general public response since the unfortunate demise of the three-year-old son of popular music star, David Adedeji Adeleke, aka Davido, and his fiancée, Chioma Rowland, Psychiatrist/psychotherapist, Dr.Maymunah Yusuf Kadiri, MD, Pinnacle Medical Services, therefore advise you consider these seven ways to respond when a friend, an icon/celebrity, or a family member is grieving.
Avoid Rushing To Social Media
Kindly don’t rush to social media to break the news or post things concerning the death. Instead, learn to hold spaces for the bereaved, stay in silence and pray with them while they mourn.
Stop seeking validation on social media with it.
If you don’t know what to say to them in their moment of pain, use these three words, “I’m here”.
Never say you know how they feel because you don’t. You can only imagine what they are going through.
Don’t Draw Comparisons To Your Experience Unless Appropriate
To identify with their pain and offer support, you might be tempted to make comparisons about your losses in life. However, doing so is unnecessary and can often lead to frustration and anger for the person experiencing grief.
Use discretion if you must. Only share and draw comparisons if the loss is very similar to that of your friend.
Platitudes should be at the top of the list of things to avoid saying to someone grieving. Phrases such as, “They’re better off now,” “You’ll be okay after a while,”
“I understand how you feel,” “Stop crying,”
“At least he’s in a better place; his suffering is over,” “At least she lived a long life, many people die young” and, “You’re young; you can still have other children.”
The best thing you can offer someone who is grieving is a hug, a listening ear, and a compassionate presence. Talk less, and listen more.
Avoid blaming them for the circumstances surrounding the loss. This is especially for “perfect parents” blaming the recent death of the three-year-old who got drowned in the pool on parental negligence. Even adults drown in pools.
This is not the time to bring your weakness to social media. Don’t be insensitive. No matter your expertise and skills, what you say, how you say it, when you say it, and who you say it to matters.
Don’t Diminish Their Grief
Acknowledging grief is one of the most basic and powerful ways you can show your support. People may unintentionally diminish a loved one’s grief by saying, “You’ll get over it soon,” and “You’ll be fine.” The best way to honour someone’s true feelings and grief experiences is to simply listen to how they say they feel. Trying to decrease someone’s pain by minimizing it only makes them feel disconnected.
Let Them Cry
One of the most important aspects of the grieving process is the ability to express deep sadness and allow oneself to cry. Letting your friend cry shows them that you understand that crying is an important part of the grief process.
It may be tempting to try to cheer your friend up or tell them not to cry, but remember, it is an important part of grief and healing.
Don’t Be Afraid To Talk About The Deceased Person
When speaking one-on-one with the bereaved, sometimes, people have a misconception that talking about the deceased loved one will upset them. Most grieving people do want to talk about and think about their loved one who has passed, and by doing this, it helps facilitate the healing process. Encourage the conversation and memories about the deceased and just listen.