(Watch to make certain if you are buying the adult or children’s book)
How to Help Someone Grieving
Everyone wants to help those left behind when there is a death, but most have no idea what to do. Finally, here is a book that can be given with the deepest love and sympathy to the grieving that offers real hope, practical help and even interactive ways to work through the deepest loss. Written with love by a certified Grief Recovery Specialist who has devoted over 20 years of her life offering a support group to help others find hope and healing as they deal with the death of a loved one, Eva knows each person must go through their own personal grief after losing a very special one-of-a-kind relationship- at their own pace, in their own way. It’s never an easy task and there is no formula to avoid the pain. No one can do it for you. There is no way around it. You have to go through the valley of the shadow of death…but it doesn’t have to be alone.
The gift of this book will be there after the funeral is over and the numbness wears off; when everyone else seems to be going on with their lives; when the griever is ready to work through specific issues. It’s like sharing grief in a support group with someone else who has gone through it…but is also willing to truly listen to their wounded heart.
“That is why whenever other people suffer, we are able to comfort them by using the same comfort we have received from God.”
2 Corinthians 1:4
Thoughts to Help Someone Through Grief
Hug them and cry with them, limiting your own words
“I love you” and “I’m praying for you” are never wrong to say
Share your best memories of their loved one (in person or in writing)
Share a photo or video you have of their loved one (they are priceless)
Send them cards and messages on a regular basis to let them know you are thinking and praying for them (not just after the death)
Listen to them without analyzing or giving advice. They need to talk out their grief.
Follow their lead. At times they might not want to talk. They might need a break from grief for a bit.
Be gentle with them. They have incurred a major injury and it takes time to recover
Invite them for dinner or a movie but realize they might be experiencing a wave of grief at that time and may back out. Let them know you will ask again.
They might be open to practical help like fixing a car, mowing the yard, doing some laundry- things that must be done but seem incredibly overwhelming at this time.
Try not to interfere when they wrestle with God. Grief brings up anger, doubts, regrets, unfinished business in their relationship. Trust God to help them work through these issues.
Commit to pray for them as they work through grief.
Resist urge to correct them or advise them
Listen to their brokenness and then give it to God so He can help them
Gently point them towards the eternal hope that God offers
Know that each person travels through grief differently. Be willing to stand by them for the long haul.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
When You Are Grieving
It often feels like you’ve been hit by a semi-truck. Nothing will ever be the same. If you had been hit by a big rig, you would be in a full body cast. Everyone would know it would take months of healing and therapy to ever walk again. They would know to be extra gentle with you and that your injuries would affect your daily capabilities. Yet since you look ok, it is often assumed you doing fine when in reality, you feel like a deeply wounded mess.
Grief involves far more than tears. The pain of missing someone you love affects every part of your life. God knows this. That’s why “Jesus wept” when he witnessed His dear friends grieving Lazarus’ death. He already knew He would be bringing His friend back to life. He knew death was not the end. That was His whole mission to come to make a way so death would not be the end. But He saw and experienced the pain of grief. When someone we love dies there is no way around it, but to grieve. We do not have to go through it alone, however. It is my prayer that the book My Forever Memories of You will help you go through it with real help and eternal hope.
In the meantime, here are some thoughts that might help as you go through your own personal grief:
*Be gentle with yourself, not expecting too much too soon.
*Share your story. It helps to get it all out. Share in writing or with others. In my opinion, the very best way to share it is by writing all your thoughts and feelings unedited in a prayer journal or the My Forever Memories interactive book. God is always available when others are busy with their lives. He’s the best listener and counselor!
*Find a good grief support group or friends to share your grief with. Sometimes it’s someone else in the family who is also grieving the loss of your loved one. I host an online Facebook group My Forever Memories of You Grief Group that you can request to join.
*Ask God to help you through. He will walk with you through this journey and you will come out with a closer relationship with Him than ever before. Be honest with Him with all your emotions.
* Don’t run away from grief (because it won’t work) but do give yourself breaks from grief and enjoy a laugh or a good dinner or a new relationship
*Don’t rush into a new relationship thinking it will fill the void. There will never be another relationship like the one you had with your loved one. No one can replace them. That doesn’t mean you won’t marry again or have another child, but you will have more to freely give if you work through the relationship you are missing.
*Be careful trying to fill your void with shopping, traveling, drugs, alcohol or anything else, because it won’t. You may end up with more problems than before if you use any of these to get through. Hopefully, you will realize the only thing that can fill that void is the Lord.
*Go back through your memories and relive, revaluate and be thankful for all you had with the one-of-a-kind relationship you had with your loved one.
*Write a letter to your loved one to tell them your regrets, blessings and how they have enriched your life.
*Many believe they are going crazy because their brain doesn’t work right. Your mind is trying to deal with and accept the reality they are gone. You may find yourself forgetful, unable to concentrate or focus. This will get better as you work through your grief.
*There are waves of grief that catch you off guard and threaten to drown you. Keep a grip on God’s hand and hold on. Those waves will get less intense with time and with longer intervals in between. As you go on, you will realize, you survived the last one and you will get through the current wave.
*note- with all my personal experience with grief along with helping others through grief, I cannot fully help you. This is something you will have to go through individually, but it is the most important time to reach out for God’s hand to help you through the life-shattering experience of the death of a loved one. He is the One who can truly help you. Out of all the helps I can give, writing regularly to Him in a prayer journal or the My Forever Memories book is the most important.
“The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
Helping Children Grieve
Children and teens act out their grief in a variety of ways. They need lots of extra patience and understanding as they deal with their crazy emotions. They need caring adults to help them work through it. You may be grieving, too, so you can all grow together through grief through some of these ideas:
*One of my favorites (This really helped my children and lots of kids since) Get a soft cuddly stuffed animal and tie a little photo of their loved one around the neck. They can hold it at night or whenever.
*Let a helium-filled balloon go up to the sky with a note attached.
*Eat your loved one’s favorite meal together and share memories
*Go fishing, bowling, or shopping together (or some activity they loved doing with their loved one)
*Watch a movie they loved watching with their loved one
*If they inherited a collection from their loved one, mount it in a shadow box as a permanent keepsake.
*One of my young friends got an unfinished wooden box and decorated it for her mom’s ashes.
*Another got a locket to fill with her loved one’s ashes.
*Plant a tree or garden in honor of a gardener.
*Have the children help decide who to donate their loved one’s clothes, shoes and personal items to
*Ask the child if they want to help go through items with family. It can be an important time for sharing memories. Include them.
*Go on a road trip you went on with your loved one or venture out to a new place they would have loved.
Be patient with ups and downs in everyone’s emotions. Feelings will be all over the place as everyone works through their grief in different ways. Children will often go from heavy crying straight to joyful play and then to throwing a fit over some silly thing. Just as adult emotions are all over the place, so are kids’. Try to keep their routine as normal as possible. Of course, many times it is a whole new normal! But they need to have some stability in their lives as they adjust to such a major change in their lives.
I highly encourage you to set up a bedtime routine to spend extra time with your child/children at this critical time. They often feel the most loss at night when it’s quiet (so do adults!). Read a bedtime story, cuddle, both of you share five things you are thankful for, and say prayers together every single night. If you have given them a stuffed animal with a photo, snuggle it in with them and give them a kiss and an “I love you!” They need extra reassurance that all is well and they are loved. My children needed to know what would happen to them if something happened to me. The reality of death makes everyone realize it can happen to anyone at any time. It shakes our wordly security and makes us look at eternal things. Reassure them of the eternal life given through Jesus Christ.
Compassionate Friends offers help for those who have lost a child… http://www.compassionatefriends.org/home.aspx
For those on Facebook, there is a helpful forum to share grief on Grief Speaks Out…
Also look for local grief support through funeral services, hospice organizations and churches in your community. All of these resources can help the griever not feel so alone as they go through the valley of the shadow of death