1. Take care of yourself. Whether you are the one going through grief or you are helping someone who is grieving, it takes an emotional toll on you. Make sure you set time aside to care for you and your needs. Going through the motions of getting a massage or going to church helps restore balance and the numbness begins to dissipate. If you are a friend of the grieved, self care provides nurturance. You won’t be able to support your friend if you lose yourself.
2. If you are the friend of the grieved, know when your friend is in need of professional help. If your friend becomes debilitated by their grief: not able to get out of bed, choosing unhealthy coping mechanisms, becoming increasingly isolated, or talking about suicide, you should seek emergency help.
3. As much as you can, encourage your friend to attend social gatherings of family and friends. Other people who care about you and/or your friend, can provide a source of comfort and help support you while you are supporting your friend.
When you lose someone you love, you are fragile, and need time to reflect, and re-live those memories. If you have a good friend who will experience the loss with you, the healing stage can be less tragic, but no matter who is there to help or not, it takes a long time to get over the memories. I work with people who have suffered severe losses and the one thing it has taught me time and time again, is that most of the time sad memories fade, but never disappear. –Mary Jo Rapini
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