What to Expect When Grief Strikes
- Grieving requires physical and emotional energy. She will likely be exhausted.
- The bereaved may be disorganized and struggle with daily functions and activities.
- She may talk incessantly about the deceased.
- She may be easily distracted and unable to concentrate.
How to Help a Grieving Friend
- Help with physical and practical needs in the early stages — grocery shopping, driving kids to events, meals, mowing the lawn, doing laundry, cleaning the house, etc. Avoid asking, “What can I do to help?” She may not be able to respond or willing to ask for help. Instead, ask, “Which would be more helpful, x or y?” Or, “Is tomorrow a good day for me to come vacuum, etc.?” Anticipate her needs, but be respectful.
- Let her talk about her child, her grief, etc.
- Give her time and space. Don’t expect that her life will be “back to normal” anytime soon.
- Encourage her to see a grief counselor.
- Send notes regularly. Remember special dates, like birthdays, holidays, and the anniversary of the death. Some people refer to this as a “heaven date.”
- Share memories you have of the loved one.
- Mention the loved one’s name.
- Don’t try to fix it. Just be willing to listen.
- Don’t share your trivial struggles with her.
- Offer opportunities to get out and do something — dinner, a walk, a movie — she needs a break from her grief.
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Remembering a Loved One:
- Name a star in memory of the person.
- Sponsor a day on local radio.
- Purchase a memorial brick at a local park or other available location.
- Start a kindness project — ask friends to do a random act of kindness in memory of your loved one.
- Organize a butterfly or balloon release on a special date.
- Create a special piece of jewelry or artwork.
- Give gifts to needy children on your loved one’s birthday.
Resources for Infant/Child Loss:
- M.I.S.S Foundation (www.misschildren.org) Find a local support group and/or resources
- Centering.org offers print resources
- I’ll Hold You in Heaven by Jack Hayford
- Safe in the Arms of God by John MacArthur
- Heaven (and Heaven for Kids) by Randy Alcorn