Death of a Parent, Relative or Friend

by Death, Friend, Parent0 comments

Room to Grieve

When my father died three years ago, I was devastated.  He had been my best friend and mentor. At the time, I was already being treated for depression (which, I believe, was partially related to my concern for my dad over the last year of his life).

After dad died, many cards came my way.  However, what I most appreciated was an agreement among my friends to visit or call me once each day for about two weeks.  They help me while I fell apart in torrents of tears and moanings.  They listened to me talk about my dad.  They let me share as my tears were eventually replaced by moments of laughter.  They hugged me, held me, and let me know in every way that they cared and stood with me.   -Robin

I was most helped by those who took note of my mother’s death and let me know they shared my sorrow.  I did not need sermons, lectures, time-honored sayings.  Reminders of the meaning of our faith in this experience were helpful, but I didn’t need them.  Actually I probably would have been happier without any caregivers around.  It was just sufficient to know people cared.  What was not helpful was when people said, “I know just what you are going through.”  They may have lost a mother but their circumstances were not the same as mine.  What I remembered most of that experience was that one person drove a distance to attend the memorial service-just to be there to experience that service with me.    -Gerald

Wisdom for the Caregiver

Share a memory.  When talking to or writing a note to a friend or relative of a deceased person, try sharing an incident or story that you especially appreciate about the deceased, or simply mention his or her admirable qualities.

Attend the memorial service.  We tend to shy away from the funeral homes and memorial services.  Is it because such visits make us more aware of our own mortality?  Or perhaps we are uncomfortable because we don’t know what to say to those who are grieving.  Whatever the reason, the important thing is to be there.

For additional caregiving advice, refer to the following categories on this website:  “Death” and “Caregiving Basics.”

The above advice is from  The Compassionate Congregation, pages 80-83.

Photo Credit:  Tony Alter