How To Help A Grieving Friend At Milestone Times
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They all suck.
Big Life Events.
Each and every one of them come by and wreak havoc on the emotions of a person who has lost someone important to them.
For me, it is my mom that I grieve.
Every time her birthday rolls around, or a holiday, or even something big in my life, I fall apart. It hits me in a different way each time, but it never passes without some sort of impact.
My subconscious knows about it before I do most of the time. I will be going about my life and feel off. I will be emotional or angry. At times I will just want to cry. It is then that I realize what time it is. Time for another milestone to pass.
I never have to deal with it by myself. I have a great husband who has started to be able to recognize the signs before I even can. But even with him being by my side, it’s just a lonely process.
Knowing how it impacts me and what things have helped along the way, I try to reach out to others going through similar issues as me. I know that they are struggling like I do, and I hate that so many have to experience a similar pain.
If you are looking for ways to help a grieving friend or loved ones through such hard and emotional times, here are a few ideas:
How To Help A Grieving Friend At Milestone Times:
- Know the days. Try to remember their loved one’s birthday and death anniversary. Having it in the back of your mind will help you understand why they are distant or upset during that time.
- Reach out. For me personally, phone calls aren’t the best during those times. But I have gotten texts from friends letting me know that they are thinking of me. Such a simple act makes my day just a little bit better.
- Share a funny memory. I love talking about my mom. My biggest worry is that people get tired of hearing about her. When others share stories they have or tell me what they loved about her, it helps me to keep her memory alive.
- Give a hug. There are some days that I am just falling apart inside. The simple act of a hug helps immensely. It helps my heart to come back together just a little bit and get through the day.
- Offer to go to her grave with me. It’s not an easy field trip to take, and one I don’t make often. But having someone else interested in “visiting” her with me makes me feel like she was important to someone else too.
- Suggest a distraction. Depending on how the day is going, I may or may not be up for it. But there are some days I just need to engage in anything that will take my mind off of the milestone. Dinner, a movie, a walk, anything other than brooding in grief.
- Let me cry. If you can tell I’m about to fall apart, give me permission to do so. Sometimes a safe place to lose it helps me to let it all out and often I feel much better afterwards.
- Offer help. I likely will say no, but just the simple act of kindness shows me that you know I’m struggling and you’re there. An offer of bringing over dinner, or watching the kids is heartwarming and caring, and let’s me know I’m loved.
It Doesn’t Go Away…
I have been told over and over again by people that the grief never goes away, it just manifests in different ways. This is so very true. Her memory will never leave me, and I will always feel her absence. She was, and still is, such a big part of me. Her absence is felt every day in varying degrees, but much more intensely during key times throughout the year. The love and support of those around me help me to get through those times.