How To Help People Dealing With Loss
Dealing with loss can really be a painful experience, and pain is a part of life. We all experience it, just like love and other emotions, because of what we encounter on a regular basis; it could be pain arising from our actions or inactions, someone else’s actions or inactions or just the normal cycle of life.
Some pains are deep and it seems we won’t ever get over them, but if there’s one thing God has wired our life to be, it is to keep moving on, no matter how hard it looks, how hard we resist it and how hard it is.
One of such pain is the loss of a loved one. We hear almost every now and then of a close or distant one going ahead of us to the great beyond because we don’t always expect our loved ones to pass on so quickly- we usually make plans that include them- it is always a rude shock and life seems to stand still. So we grieve.
Sometimes it is others we have to help out as they grieve.
Let me share with you how to help people who are dealing with loss at a particular stage of their lives.
1. Let them cry
The first thing to help them do is “let them cry”. Yes, Cry. Bawl. Scream. Howl.
It is usually very painful and one of the best ways to release the burdens of the heart is through tears. No idea why that is, but crying just helps.
Some of them, however, may not cry perhaps because they’re still in shock or denial. You should understand that this could be their way of dealing with it so don’t assume that they’re being immature, unreasonable, unrealistic, pretending or mean.
You should rather help them accept that what’s happened has happened. Then, lend your shoulder when they eventually break down.
Another thing you could do is help them talk about it. It is natural to talk about the life that has just passed.
They’ll want to relive all the good times and try to hold on to them: be a listening ear.
You will agree that it’d be disturbing to discover them talking to themselves, so help them unburden by listening.
Note that you don’t have to say anything during this period, your silence may be what is needed most at this time; contribute if need be but be reminded that they’re the ones passing through a phase, not you. Help them let it out.
Read here about 5 Ways And Reasons To Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
3. Engage them
It would be relatively easy for the bereaved to become lethargic, isolate themselves and begin to draw back from their normal routine: they may become untidy and unresponsive.
- Don’t become judgemental; help them by engaging them in activities that will help them get back on their emotional and psychological feet, start with something they used to like to do, that excites them.
- Encourage them to get back to their day job, if they have any.
- Be careful not to be too pushy as it may end up bouncing back. Take it slowly and one at a time.
- You’ll figure it out depending on their response level.
If they’re beginning to slack in their health habits, gently remind them of this.
4. Know each man’s peculiarity
We all differ from one another so what works for one may not work for the other.
Be careful to know the personality of the person you’re dealing with: some may not bear to be left alone, some do not want too many people around them, some can’t stop blurting words out, others go slowly and several other peculiarities.
Know to blend well so as not to compound the problems at hand.
5. Visit often and Follow-up
We are all busy with our lives and problems and tend to forget other people’s pain as soon as they’re out of sight. It’s normal.
You may, however, need to keep reminders to check up on them and see to their welfare in the little way you can. Trust me, it may be exactly what they need for that minute or hour.
Eventually, the pain lessens and things go back to normal, to an extent. When the chips are down, they’ll remember that you were there, that you cared.
And really, what is our duty to one another if not to be brother’s keepers? It’s so important Jesus spoke about it in one of His parables.
Let us watch out for one another, help each other bear our losses. We’ll be better off for it.
Have you experienced a loss of something/someone dear? Do you know anyone that experienced a loss? How did you help them get over it?
P.S: Images are courtesy of Pexels.com