Series on Grief
This is the last post in the Working Moms: Series on Grief. Losing someone you love isn’t easy. You have days you don’t want to go on… days you can’t even get out of bed. The pain is unbearable… you can’t breathe because of the weight on your chest. You can’t breathe because you feel like you’re drowning.
Most people don’t know what to say when someone they care about is struggling through a loss like this. They are so afraid of saying the wrong thing and making their loved one feel worse, that they end up saying the absolute worst things.
What can you do to help someone who has suffered a loss?
Just be there. Let your friend/family member know you are there. They might need you to be right there with them, but helping them feel like they aren’t alone helps more than anything. I felt so isolated when Mike died. It was like no one cared enough to just be there for me.
Take away some of their burden. When someone suffers a loss, the world doesn’t stop. Children still need to be cared for, and the house still needs to be cleaned. One of the most devastating nights I had was coming home from Orlando after hearing that there was no hope… and seeing a house that was a disaster. My fiancée was in a coma, and I still had to get up and go to work the next day.
Instead of resting and spending time with my children, I had to clean cereal that had been stomped into the clothes that were laying all over the floor. Offer to watch the kids so your loved one can rest… clean the house… get the oil in their car changed… mow the lawn… anything to make their burden a little lighter. They already have so much they are dealing with… helping them will mean more than you can imagine.
Don’t wait for them to ask for help. I’m not good at asking for help under the best of circumstances. When Mike died, it was even worse. The only exception was asking my ex-husband to come help me fix the water pipes that burst at 4:00 am the morning after Mike died.
One of my good friends from high school was my oldest daughter’s guidance counselor and pulled community organizations to help us. Mike died five days before Christmas, and if it weren’t for the caring people in these groups, my kids wouldn’t have had much of a Christmas. I didn’t have the mental energy to think about presents and happiness. I will forever be grateful for the people who care enough to give my children a little bit of joy in such a horrible time.
Hold them while they cry. It took me about two weeks before I could cry about Mike. I was running myself ragged while he was in the hospital, and then I had to try to be there for my kids through their loss, and Christmas. I was in auto-pilot for a long while. One day I just started crying. It was really hard to be around people who thought they were helping by telling me not to cry.
I NEEDED to cry. The stress and emotions were building up inside of me, and I needed to get them out. Crying is a healthy release. Just hold your loved one and let them cry.
Going through a loss of a loved one is devastating. Everyone grieves differently, but everyone goes through the five stages of grief. Be there for our friend/family member. Do what you can to make life easier on them. You really can make a difference.
Thank you for allowing me to share this series. I truly hope it will help you in case you are faced with helping someone through a terrible loss. If you missed any of the series, click on the links below.