Being present for those who deeply grieve

In the years since Jason died, I’ve read many “do’s and don’ts” lists in articles and books written concerning how to help the grieving. I’ve even written about how to help those who deeply grieve. Without a doubt, I think all of these lists and writings help and give understanding and insight.

As I read a blog this morning about being present for those who grieve, though, I started thinking that if I had to state how to help a person who is deeply grieving in only two sentences, this is what I would say: Be short on words, long on presence and compassion. Don’t offer an explanation; offer your heart.

That is the essence, the distillation, the easy-to-remember nugget, the “advice in a nutshell” for helping those who deeply grieve. If someone is in the situation of needing/wanting to help someone who is grieving, I hope s/he will take time to fully read the helpful “do and don’t” lists, but will use these two short sentences as a trigger or reminder of how to help.

© 2012 Rebecca R. Carney

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11 thoughts on “Being present for those who deeply grieve

  1. Excellent words, Rebecca. Grief is so personal that it can be difficult to say the “right” words for each individual–but being “present”, that is a huge gift.
    I wish to thank you for following my blog–I remember you from last September, when I’d first begun it; you were one of the earliest visitors. God bless you abundantly.

  2. I take your words to heart…I think it’s easier to talk too much and think the silence is void we can fill. And of course, we can’t. Good reminder that it isn’t about our “ease” at all…compassion can be wordless. Bless you, Rebecca. Debra

  3. Being with someone, full present, listening is one of the greatest gifts to receive. True kindness and compassion can’t be put into words. Thanks for stating it so clearly.

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