How To Help Loved Ones Cope With Death

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Over the past few years, three of my friends have had spouses die suddenly in their 50s. These experiences helped me learn how to support myself in the face of unexpected loss. I never thought I would ever get such support. But that happened when my son Garrett committed suicide in September 2017.

How To Help Loved Ones Cope With Death

How To Help Loved Ones Cope With Death

Since Garrett’s passing, I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our community. A friend paid to clean my gutters and wash my windows. Our GP refused to pay for her pet care for a year. Another friend gave us the keys to his lake house to use if we had to escape. Every spring we find a plant hanging from our porch belonging to Garrett’s friend’s parents. As terrifying as it was to walk this new path without my son, these actions added a glimmer of positivity to my desperation.

How To Cope With Losing A Loved One: Can You Really Ever Get Over It?

While people have reached out to us after our loss, that kind of generosity isn’t always given in a sudden death, a consequence many families have experienced with the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 800,000 people in the United States. countries only.

“Many grieving people experience a second loss when friends and family avoid the loss because of their discomfort,” says Sherry Cormier, a licensed psychologist and trauma specialist. Having a grieving partner in such a situation can increase fear of death, he said. “They think, ‘This could happen to me.’

Unlike death, which comes after a long illness, with the sudden disappearance of old people, “your world is completely and utterly turned upside down; you’re in total chaos,” says Camille Wortman, a professor of social and health psychology at Stony Brook University and author of Traumatic Stress Treatment: A Clinician’s Guide.

Aside from the loss itself, one of the most painful experiences for the bereaved is that their friends and family may not be willing to help them through their grief, Dr. Cormier said. Instead of walking away, you can offer a link. Here are some ways to help someone who has recently suffered a loss.

Coping With Grief: Helping Others With A Loss

In the event of an unexpected loss, the poor immediately have new and heavier obligations. Relieving this burden can be invaluable. Dr. Cormier put it this way: “I would like to help. Can you think of anything that might be helpful?” If they don’t offer suggestions, be specific: ask if you can bring food, mow the lawn, or run errands. You can also warm up by offering to go with them to go the lucky ones, go for a walk or take them out to dinner.

Jerri Vance of Princeton, Washington, lost her husband, James, a 52-year-old police officer, to Covid-19 on Christmas Day 2021. “He went to the hospital on December 7 and I never saw him again,” she said.

Immediately after her husband’s death, people in her community began collecting medical bills and funeral expenses, raising $29,000. Friends and neighbors gave food for a month and a half. Other friends helped her put down the Christmas decorations. The principal of the school where he teaches third grade also showed up to clean his kitchen.

How To Help Loved Ones Cope With Death

Ms. Vance said she appreciated all the prayers after her husband’s death, but was most moved by those who offered to lighten their burdens.

Stages Of Grief: Dabda

A study published in August by the American Psychological Association found that losing a loved one to a traumatic event can trigger complex reactions in those left behind, including prolonged grief. According to Kristin Alve Glad, other studies have shown that people who have experienced a traumatic loss are more likely to experience severe, intense, and sustained psychological reactions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, compared to people who have not experienced the loss. clinical psychologist and lead author of the A.P.A. University studies. In these cases, Dr. Poor people may struggle for years or decades, Wortman said.

“Time doesn’t heal all wounds,” said Ms. Vance. “There are times when I forget about myself. Everyone goes back to their normal life and for us there will never be a normal life.”

Dr. Wortman suggested checking in regularly and approaching times when anxiety can be particularly dangerous, such as wedding anniversaries or major holidays. She has put together a list of helpful websites and articles that focus on providing support in these situations.

Consider adding simple “thinking of you” messages to your to-do list. Lisa Zaleski, who lives in White Lake, United States, experienced the unexpected when she lost her daughter Sydney in a car accident at the age of 23 in June 2017, after which her son Robert He committed suicide in December 2019. 31 years old. old After her daughter’s death, a friend she wasn’t close to sent her a welcome message every day for a year. “It was like a huge support,” he said.

Grieving The Loss Of A Child: Coping & Moving Forward

Nneka Njideka, a licensed clinical social worker in Brooklyn, N.Y., who specializes in grief counseling, explained that those with more resources have “bereavement privilege.” They may be able to take extended leave and, for example, hire a professional team to absorb the loss. But he said this is not the case for those with fewer resources, and especially people of color, who, in addition to the loss of loved ones, may also face “living damage” such as unemployment or food insecurity.

Calandrian Simpson Kemp, who is black and lives in Houston, was working at a women’s homeless shelter in 2013 when she received a call that her only son, George Kemp Jr., in his 20s, had been shot. “Everything you dreamed of has been stolen from you,” he said. It was too much for her husband. When she told him the news, “he dropped the keys and never came back to work,” she said. The family, including daughter and daughter, was therefore without insurance. She couldn’t afford mental health care and at one point had to use the pantry.

“I felt the bullet still killed me and my husband because we lost everything,” she said.

How To Help Loved Ones Cope With Death

Ms Njideka said it was important in situations like this to help the bereaved network with the community and create a circle of support resources, perhaps raising money for bills and treatment. Mrs. Simpson Kemp started the Mother’s Village program to help bereaved families get the services they need.

Grief & Loss

It helps to sit with those who are grieving and let them cry, said Dr. Cormier. Let them tell you the story of their loss and don’t try to solve the problem or offer advice. After Mrs. Simpson killed Kemp’s son, a woman from her church suggested she drive to the cemetery and sit alone with him.

“He just stepped back and let me be quiet and quiet with George,” said Ms Simpson Kemp. He “showed me that it’s okay to slow down and put the pieces together to help understand what just happened.”

Try to be careful not to minimize the loss or encourage a quick recovery, said Roxane Cohen Silver, a professor of psychological science, public health and medicine at the University of California, Irvine. Based on research with hundreds of lucky people, he’s put together a list of what not to do if you lose. Never pretend to know what grief feels like, even if you’ve experienced a similar loss; You cannot understand the depth of their grief, he said.

According to Dr. Other expressions to avoid, says Wortman, are “You are so strong,” “You are so grateful,” and “Everything will be okay,” along with religious expressions like “It’s part of God’s plan” or “It’s all right.” He’s in a better place.”

How To Survive Losing A Loved One: A Practical Guide To Coping With Your Partner’s Terminal Illness And Death, And Building The Next Chapter In Your Life By Karen Jackson Taylor |

Ms. Vance said it’s better not to make empty promises. Some of her friends promised their children pedicures and ice cream, but no one followed through. Her children were injured. “If you promise something, you have to keep it,” he said.

If you die by suicide, it can be even more difficult to know what to say or how to help because stigma can be a problem. Doreen Marshall, a psychologist with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said that survivors of loss often feel incredibly guilty and may feel responsible for what happened. Dr Marshall, who lost a partner to suicide, said this means friends and loved ones may be even more willing to support.

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How To Help Loved Ones Cope With Death

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