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09/28/2006

Comments

kelli

thanks for sharing your experience and your thoughts, Heidi. I don't deal with death well...I mean, does anyone? Maybe I guess... but I guess when I say 'I don't deal with deal well", I really mean, I don't deal with it. It's like the 'stages of death' everyone talks about? Yeah, my first stage of denial lasts years. Not healthy and I admit that, but maybe it's because I haven't had that many people I love die. I'm dreadful at consoling because I tend to be so much of an empath that I grieve with people.  But what you've said here makes so much sense...all the things that people *think* they are saying to be of comfort but they really don't put much thought into.

They say it gets easier with time...but what if it doesn't? I can definitely see where the stories that people have about your mom would be helpful to the healing...seeing her through others' eyes is a special gift.

reesie

I found this post very... helpful. I'm usually in the "quick, say something stupid" crowd. Different things comfort different people. I think I'll go with the "I'm so sorry" in this case.

mikerose

How about "Is there anything you need?" I'm kind of a fan of that one.

Heidi

Kelli: I think some people deal with death better than others, and I think how well they do it has to do with how well they deal with the rest of their lives. I found it comforting when empathetic people grieved with me--as long as I didn't end up having to comfort them. From reading your blog, you seem self-aware enough that I would expect you to be better than you say at consoling. You can't make someone feel better when they've suffered a big loss--the best thing to do, I think, is recognize their grief and grieve with them, without making it about you (which, though I don't really know you, I don't really see you doing). I don't know what happens if it doesn't get easier with time--I think for a while it gets harder, but I don't know for how long. Maybe it doesn't get easier, but it gets different.

Reesie: I'm glad it was a little helpful to you. Our culture hides death and rejects negative emotion, I think, and it just makes it that much harder to know how to react to someone who is grieving. I'm still working on it, and I have to get comfortable with it, because that's going to be a big part of my job when I'm a rabbi.

Mike (sweetie): In writing this post, I came to realize that I don't find any kind of question so great. Rather than asking if there's anything I need, it would be better to say, "I'm going to bring you some food. Do you have any dietary restrictions?" Or "I'm going to babysit your kids for an evening so you and Mike can go out and have some time to yourselves. Would this Wednesday be good?" The more specific, the better, so that I don't have to do work while I'm in the midst of grieving. All of this stuff, of course, is just me. But I liked the feeling of being taken care of right at the beginning of my grieving process. 

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