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Ask For Help When You're Grieving

by Vicki DellaSperanza


Your friends and loved ones may know your favorite food, the movies you love to see or any myriad of ways to show they care. But, when you’re grieving, those closest to you are at a complete loss of how to help.

Below is a letter to send to your friends and family. Use this as a guide to ask for what you need. Or send this entire article with a note that reads “This article resonated with me.”

Dear Loved One,

You know that I am grieving a deep and painful loss. I need your help, but I understand that you may not know how to support me during this difficult time. I don’t expect or even want you to fix me. Here are some ways that you can help me feel loved and cared for.

1. Listen to me. Go all in and listen with your heart, mind and body. Breathe with me. Be present and hold the space for me. If, during the pauses, you feel you must say something, try this: “I’m listening, or I hear you.”

2. Just do it. It’s not easy for me to ask for help. Sometimes I don’t know what I need. Would you try a different approach? Tell me when you are free to visit with me and just do it. Try saying something like this: “I can come by next Tuesday evening after work. Is that a good time for you?”

3. Ask me. It’s okay for you to ask me how I am doing. When you avoid me or my grief, it makes me feel invisible. When you are at a loss for words, try saying “how are you doing today?”

4. Be with me in the silence. There will be times when I won’t feel like talking or responding to a text. Your gentle presence assures me that I am not alone in my grief. Visit with me, send a text or voice mail. Don’t go away simply because I am silent.

5. Grieve with me. If you feel like crying with me, let your tears flow. You won’t make things worse. When you cry, you show your feelings and validate mine. You remind me that I am not alone is my grief.

6. Release the myths of grief. Please, do your best to never say any of these or other platitudes to me or anyone who is grieving: Time heals all wounds. God never gives us more than we can handle. Be patient, you haven’t met the right person yet. Be glad his suffering is over. Find a hobby and keep yourself busy.

Your love and kindness are truly soothing. Thank you standing by me in my grief.

With appreciation,

Your grieving loved one.

Vicki DellaSperanza is a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist© and ordained Interfaith/Interspiritual Minister. She specializes in helping others deal with grief after loss, whether it’s due to death, divorce, job loss or any other of the 42 losses that we humans experience at any given time. Call or email to arrange a free, confidential consultation. vicki@thriveafterloss.com  or 413-244-8368


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