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"When Grief Leaves the Dictionary and Comes Home."

by Pastor K. Greening

There are many different types of grief. Grief can develop in a person as a result of a (long-term) relationship break up, the loss of a friend or family member, or even the loss of a much loved pet. Grieving is a process. Once a person enters the grieving process, they must complete the course, so to speak. Some very useful and interesting Do’s and Don'ts are mentioned here.

DOs: for Grievers

Do be kind to yourself.

Do make allowances for the emotional pain.

Do give yourself ample time to heal.

Do be realistic about your recovery span.

Do find someone you can confide in, to talk through your needs.

Do be honest about your needs.

Do stay involved with your friends and family.

Do allow yourself to talk about your loss.

Do make an effort to join a support group.

Do plan a trip or something different for the near future.

Do tell a person if you feel his/her behaviour or advice is ineffective or offensive.

Do expect limited support form society in general.

Do express what you are feeling whenever you want to.

Do cry even if someone is watching.

Do maintain your spiritual life.

Do try to continue with your daily activities when you feel strong enough.

Do be aware of how another member of your family is handling his/her grief what you can do for them.

Do talk about your loss with other members of your family who have also been affected by the loss.

Do have photos and memorabilia of the person around you.


DON’Ts: for Grievers 

Don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself.

Don’t feel you have to imitate someone else who has sustained loss.

Don’t feel you have to perform according to the expectations of others.

Don’t feel you have to compete with others.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Don’t avoid counselling.

Don’t shut people out of your life.

Don’t be afraid of tears.

Don’ t be surprised by your anger, either intense anger or misdirected anger.

Don’t give way to self-pity.

Don’t be afraid to accept help offered to you.

Don’t be too spiritual.

Don’t be discouraged by your lack of interest in life.

Don’t make irreversible decisions whilst grieving.

Don’t expect a quick healing of your emotions.

Don’t allow a well-meaning person to project his/her beliefs on to you.

Don’t let Biblical principles compound guilt.

Don’t allow others to place a band-aid on your pain.

Don’t expect too many people to understand your pain and grief.

Don’t let your grief go underground.

Don’t put a wall of denial around you.

Don’t expect to be “on top of things” for some time; or for very much of the time.

Don’t punish yourself when you have flashbacks.

Don’t isolate yourself from others.

Don’t mistake an emotional adrenaline boost for faith.

Don’t let guilt or recrimination rule your life.

Don’t become dislocated from hope.

Don’t expect too much emotional order for some time after loss or major trauma.


DOs: for Helpers 

Do be empathetic.

Do allow him/her to talk and do give them the gift of listening.

Do be skillful.

Do give him/her the freedom and opportunity to phone or visit you anytime.

Do speak naturally of the loss.

Do go out of your way for him/her.

Do send cards initially and on anniversaries, to show you care.

Do give him/her time.

Do give him/her understanding.

Do pray for him/her….quietly and discreetly.

Do be confident and not fearful.


DON’Ts: for Helpers 

Don’t assume you know and understand it all.

Don’t rush him/her through talking.

Don’t use his/her grief to express your grief.

Don’t impose if your attention is not welcome.

Don’t use Biblical clichés.

Don’t say “I know how you are feeling”.

Don’t use text book advice.

Don’t compare one person’s grief to another’s.

Don’t give advice unless you are genuine towards him/her.

Don’t withdraw your friendship.

Don’t get so busy you cannot make regular contact.

Don’t distract him/her from talking about their loss.

Don’t hide behind a cloak of silence.

Don’t dominate his/her life.

Don’t break confidences.

Don’t give hurtful or bitter advice.

Don’t expect too much from him/her.

Don’t appear to be directing. 

Don’t steal the conversation.

Don’t be offended if he/she rejects your advice, or you, for a period.

Don’t react if he/she does not take your advice after asking for it.

Don’t be afraid of tears.

Don’t give medical advice.

Don’t give legal advice.

Don’t be casual about offering help.

Don’t feel you have to have a rehearsed role.

Don’t encourage hasty decisions about changing jobs or relationships.

Don’t force recovery.

Don’t be afraid to talk about the problem or mention the loved one by name.

Don’t be morbid.

Don’t be too jovial.

Don’t ask probing questions.

Don’t be overbearing when comforting.

Don’t give glib advice.

Don’t recommend books you have not read.

Don’t make predictions.

Don’t appear to be admonishing.

Don’t appear to be moralizing.

Don’t appear to be criticizing.

Don’t appear to be sympathizing.

Don’t ask closed questions.

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