Previously published in Examiner
Part 6 of the Dealing with grief and loss and helping others series
How to help a person who is grieving over a loved one
Grief is normal, but there are many ways of grieving. No two people’s experience will be exactly the same. A question a person grieving often asks is how long will it take for the hurt go away? The answer is there is no magical answer, no absolute guidelines. Generally speaking according to the Kubler-Ross model it takes approximately 5 to 7 years. However, depending on the person, and the connection the griever had with the deceased it could take much longer, or maybe not as long.
Comments from family and friends are not always helpful
One problem is the expectation onlookers have concerning grieving. Though people may feel it is helpful to tell the griever, “get over it and get on with your life” This can have very harmful emotional and psychological effects. It is very easy for onlookers whether they be family or friends to say this as they are not going through the debilitating feelings themselves. However, the psychological effect on the griever can in some circumstances cause more harm than good. It further alienates the griever from the very people whom he or she needs for support. “Get over it” is not supportive, it comes across as callous. “I don’t think you should still be grieving, it’s already been three years since Eric died and you should be out enjoying yourself, is less callous, but still not supportive. Family and friends may have opinions, but to voice those opinions to the grieving without training in grief counseling is very detrimental to the griever and very judgmental.
You may wonder why that last statement is not supportive and is judgmental, as on the surface it does sound logical and helpful. The answer lies in the last word helpful. How are you really helping? You made a statement, but you did not provide helpful ways for the person to get over the grief.
To be continued
Certified Grief Counsellor and Educator in Montreal
Dawn Cruchet, BN, M.ED, CT
Canada Telephone Counselling Confidential
Montreal tel: 514-223-1015
Montreal Therapy Center
The Montreal Counselling Clinic
Auberge Shalom Counselling and Resource Centre