Supporting Someone in Grief

Supporting Someone in Grief

Supporting Someone in Grief: Most of us Are Doing It All Wrong

A leading success coach said more needs to be done to help people understand grief, how to support others going through it and to accept grief is different for everyone.

"Grief needs to be spoken about in the classroom, in the workplace and at home because most Australians don't know how to help someone in grief, which often unknowingly isolates the grieving person further," said Noni Boon, a qualified holistic counsellor.

"People wrongly stay away from those grieving, thinking others will be with them and they don't want to get in the way or when they eventually do catch up they avoid talking about the reason for their grief for fear of upsetting them further," said Ms Boon.

"Talking about it will let them know you care and every tear they shed is one tear closer to healing for them."

"Grief is a long process and can take five years or more before the person starts to feel "normal" again and carry hope for the future."

Nina Boon said there are five stages to grief:
1 Denial (shock): World becomes meaningless, life makes no sense - numb and allowing the reality to 'sink in'.
2 Anger: Necessary for healing - feel the feelings.
3 Bargaining: Bargain with God "I will never do xyz again if you let 'Person' survive"
4 Depression: Empty feelings of despair - depression is an appropriate response to a great loss - withdrawal from life.
5 Acceptance (Repositioning) - Accepting the reality, becoming involved in life again and starting to 'move on'.

"Grief is unique to everyone so some people experience all five stages of grief, others might experience only some of them and not necessarily in the same order."

Ms Boon has these tips for people wanting to support those grieving -
1. Don't Ask, Just Be There : Many people grapple with whether or not they should go and see the person grieving. They assume others will be there and will be called upon if needed. A person grieving is so overcome with emotion they won't think to ask.
2. Saying Nothing is OK : People feel the need to do or say something when often the best action they can take is to simply be there and listen. Stroke their hair, rub their back, just sit with them and listen.
3. Accept you can't fix it. People want to try and make the grief go away by downplaying it or trying to lighten the mood with humour. Grief is a long process and every tear shed is one tear closer to healing.
4. Talk About It : As time passes people often don't mention the cause of the grief as they believe it will avoid upsetting them or prevent awkward moments. Talking about it will help them know you care and help them talk about it.

"Grief has no specific timetable and many people find their lives are better after going through grief, due to something referred as post-stress growth."
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