I often counsel the bereaved.
I’d like to pass along four bits of general advice that I give to mourners.
is a part of the life cycle. I know many people would rather not
deal with it. Death, after all, is quiet a taboo topic; but it’s still
real and something that we all need to be faced. So, why not be a bit
(The scheduling of this week’s newsletter about mourning to follow last week’s about loss is not coincidence.)
My hope is that you don’t need to take any of the above advice any time soon.
is no one correct way to mourn. Really. Honest. There isn’t. Please,
please, please do not think that you ought to do anything other than
what feels appropriate to you. Do not try to do this or that to take
care of other people. Take care of yourself. Give yourself the
permission to mourn as it feels appropriate to you.
you are mourning, emotions and memories come in waves. They will come
and leave on their own accord. You cannot control waves in the ocean;
neither can you control emotions or memories when you are mourning.
times, emotions will be overwhelming and take you without warning. You
won’t be done with them until they are done. You may try to delude
yourself that you are in control of them, but you’re not.
the same with memories. Memories you didn’t even know you had may
arrive seemingly from nowhere; and, again like waves, you are not in
control of them.
people dislike dealing with other people in pain, mourners will be
consoled. Or, better put, people will often try to console mourners. Of
course, it’s an impossible thing to do, right? You can’t really say
anything. Consequently, the intended comfort will, often, miss the mark.
think about it… Even under the best circumstances, kind words and
deeds cannot take away the feelings of pain and loss that mourners
face. Words intended to comfort don’t work. What then happens, when the
first bit of would-be comfort doesn’t help, the would-be comforter will
usually make a second effort to comfort which also doesn’t help – this
often leaves both feeling worse.
Here’s my suggestion to
mourners: maintain a list of the 5 least comforting things you hear
while you are mourning. My rationale is that if you make it part of a
game while you listen to some ridiculous things that are supposed to
pass for comfort it might take a bit of the sting out.
Walk Around the Block
a week of mourning (or a week after the death), take a walk around the
block either by yourself or with loved ones. This ritual is ancient and
unbelievably effective. The mourning doesn’t end with the walk around
the block, but something shifts.
|The 77% Weekly
The 77% Weekly: The Religion-Outside-The-Box Newsletter helps people find and be with (the) God (of their understanding) 40 out of 52 weeks a year.
1) 40/52 = 0.76923. The newsletter is sent every Monday except the last of each month.
2) In school 77% was a passing grade and ROTB is delighted to remind you that life isn’t graded.
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