Page 24 - Smith And Turner
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 Expressions Of Sympathy
The greatest help can be found in listening, showing concern, and simply, your presence.
Listen with your heart
Helping begins with your ability to be an active listener. Your physical presence and desire to listen without judging are critical helping tools. Don’t worry so much about what you will say. Just concentrate on listening to the words that are being shared with you.
Be compassionate
Give your friend permission to express his or her feelings without fear of criticism. Learn from your friend; don’t instruct or set expectations about how he or she should respond. Never say, “I know just how you feel.” You don’t.
Think about your helper role as someone who “walks with,” not “behind” or “in front of ” the one who is mourning.
Avoid clichés
Words, particularly clichés, can be extremely painful for a grieving friend. Clichés are
trite comments often intended to diminish the loss by providing simple solutions to difficult realities. Comments like, “You are holding up so well,” “Time heals all wounds,” “Think of all you still have to be thankful for” or “Just be happy that he/she is out of his/her pain” are not constructive. Instead, they hurt and can make a friend’s journey through grief more difficult.
Offer practical help
Preparing food, washing clothes, cleaning the house or answering the telephone are just a few of the practical ways of showing you care.
Understand the uniqueness of grief
Keep in mind that your friend’s grief is unique. No one person will respond to the death of someone loved in exactly the same way. While it may be possible to talk about similar phases shared by grieving people, everyone is different and shaped by experiences in their own unique lives.
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