Your Helps

Professionals can offer all sorts of thoughts and suggestions about navigating one’s way through grief. Yet so often it is the grievers themselves—those who are presently grieving and those who have known deep grief at an earlier time—who have some of the most practical, original, and healthy ideas. Such people, people like you, know what works the best way—firsthand.

So what specific things have you done that have helped you most through your own journey through grief? What positive step made a real difference for you? What piece of helpful advice do you wish to pass on to others?

Please post your idea below. And thank you.

9 thoughts on “Your Helps

  1. I finished mama’s list. My mother was a list maker and, when she died, I found her last list near by. I made a concerted effort to finish and cross off each item. The knowledge that that act would have pleased her carried me through many days after she was gone.

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    • Thank you, Katherine. I will share that idea of finishing the loved ones “unfinished business”, if one can, with others who are grieving. My mom was a “clipper of articles” and “saver of cards”. She would say “you never know when you might need these”. After she died and I went through a large box of saved items I found the sympathy cards she received when our dear step-dad died just three years before her. A card and message she saved from a hospital chaplain was the confirmation I was seeking to begin my career as a chaplain.
      Thanks, mom !

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  2. For many years I put the grief from the deaths of my brother and dad aside because I did not know of healthy ways to grieve. In 1995-96 I met Jim Miller, John Schneider and Donna O’Toole. They were leading week long trainings entitled “Transformative Grief – Empowering Growth Through Loss”. Being with others who shared their grief and love created a safe and sacred place for me to share mine. I will always be grateful for the people I met there. It truly was transforming and empowered me to heal and grow.

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  3. At one time of shock and grief, a friend handed me a 10″ cardboard circle and a small box of crayons, saying simply, “Draw it.” “Draw what?” Her caring response was again, “Just draw….” To this very day, 20 years later, that unplanned circle-drawing is on the wall above my bed — a very comforting reminder of my walk through grief, of survival, and of the hidden beauty and blessings that followed the pain.

    Other things that have helped me work through grief include:
    making a collage or symbolic memento of my loved one (because my hands were grieving, too, and needed to “do something”);
    journaling what I was genuinely feeling each day (amazing and empowering to read later on);
    writing a caring note to someone else who was also hurting;
    hugging a child or pet (while also hugging my inner child who was grieving);
    listening to others who were grieving (in a safe support group);
    staying connected with loved ones, while also setting aside personal alone-time each day;
    sitting in God’s lap and just letting Him hold me….

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    • When you mentioned “a small box of crayons” I can imagine the fragrance of the “box of 64 crayola crayons” I received as a Christmas gift the year my dad was hospitalized for about six months. I was six years old. He was my “storyteller”, reading the parables and asking “which person would you be most like in that story”? He would also make up funny stories. I think I colored at least a whole coloring book a day, selecting the one I thought he would like best and would take the pages to my mom asking her to mail them to him. That was my way of writing him letters. Thank you, Jeana, for reminding me of a way in which I helped my daddy heal. My favorite place to go to “sit in God’s lap” is Psalm 139.

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  4. When my mother passed, my daughter and I found little ways to honor her on a regular basis and that helped us with our grief. On Sunday’s we would have a grandma meal; one of the ones that she made regularly. We would also watch her favorite program, House Hunters, and tell the couple on the program which house they should buy. On her birthdays, we have a picnic at the cemetery and, silly as it sounds, we scatter peanut M&M’s because that was her favorite snack. We figured the squirrels would enjoy them later.

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  5. I found I needed time more time alone after the death of each of my parents. I learned to say “no” to my well meaning friends who wanted to spend time with me and share a cup of coffee or lunch. Of course, I said yes plenty of times but when it was time to say no I did.

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  6. Writing or journaling, and photography helps me — expression that does not always include talking. I think about how I might honor the legacy of the person who died, and writing a story or a creating a photo collage helps me to do that.

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