I often field messages from people who feel helpless as they watch a loved one bear a devastating loss. They search for tangible ways to help, or resources to give. Unfortunately, grief is hard work only the grieving can do. However creating partnership alongside in the grief – holding space, a place of loving non-judgment can be the critical piece which allows for those grieving to feel safe in feeling the full range of their emotions and doing the work, is possible.
For those who are grieving when they are asked, “How can I help?” or hear, “Let me know what I can do to help.” it feels good to know people care. And it’s often virtually impossible to come up with an answer. Already feeling vulnerable and laid bare, it’s hard to reveal what feels like more vulnerability by inviting others in to carry some of the load. It’s also overwhelming to try to catalog what can be handed off to others without it becoming more burdensome. Not having an answer can further isolate you as people slowly stop asking.
The good news is, even in the midst of grief there is a path to partnership. The bad news is it takes time, thoughtfulness, and a level of acceptance for what is that can be hard. To make it easier, I surveyed a broad network of people who’ve gone through profound loss to create a one page document of suggestions and thoughts, of what to do and what not to do.
For those of you who are grieving
Feel free to use this anyway you’d like. You can send a link to this page, download the pdf and forward on to others, or print and hand it out. You may also just want to use it as your own resource, taking what you like and leaving what you don’t, to share with your loved ones.
For those who want to support a grieving loved one
First off thank you for being there for the loved ones in your life who’ve lost someone! Just the fact that you’ve found this page and are looking for ways to support them means a lot. Download the pdf , taking what resonates with you. You may also bring it to your loved one and asking for their thoughts.