The death of a loved one evokes emotions that touch the very core of our being. The mystery of death, the fear of the unknown, the sadness of losing a soul mate, family member, close friend or relative often leaves us feeling confused, angry and alone. Perhaps it is a time when much soul searching and questioning about the purpose of our own being is foremost in our minds.
When people lose someone very close to them or with whom they have shared a lifetime, it is often hard to believe that it has really happened. Often there is a wide range of intense feelings that follow. The sadness and emptiness can be overwhelming; people are often surprised when they feel angry or guilty, but all of these emotions are normal.
At some point, we each experience loss ourselves or are close to someone who is. Grief is not only caused by the death of a loved one, but can also be experienced through events such as retrenchment, separation or divorce, sudden or increasing disability, loss of a pet, or separation from home, family members or friends.
Often we do not know what to say to the grieving person and this can cause us to shy away from saying or doing anything. When people are helpful and supportive, they enhance the healing process which brings purpose and pleasure back into life.
An understanding pat on the shoulder, a handshake or a hug can say more than words, and will often be remembered as a source of great comfort and strength to those that are grieving.
Give permission – If people are allowed to express and show their feelings, then they can start to deal with them. Crying is a natural and healthy process in times of grief. This may be what they need to release their hurt – tears of grief are in fact tears of healing.