Sandy Cole


home | about Jessie | spiritual transitions | angels among us all | cosmic toolbox | spiritual abc's |
Angels Among Us All | fun stuff | guest columns

memorials | index guest columns | 1 what is grief | 2 six stages of grief | 3 shock and denial | 4 anger

print version



Recently a friend, “ Shari ”, was sharing with me her frustration and concern for her mother-in-law, “Doris”, who was widowed four months ago. Shari and her husband have tried to be very supportive of Doris , but feel that she should be getting on with her life. Their relationship has become strained and uncomfortable. In talking with Shari I decided that it might be helpful to others to do a series of articles with some basic guidelines, ideas, suggestions, and examples that might help you better understand and comfort a grieving relative or friend.

The situation that Shari ’s family is experiencing is very common. Its tragic how many families are torn apart by the illness and or death of a loved one, at a time when they need each other the most.

Grief is a unique state of being in its self. It affects each person differently and it must be worked through and dealt with by each individual in his or her own manner and time frame. No one can “fix” someone else’s grief. It is one of lives most difficult and personal of journeys; but out of this journey can come some of lives greatest rewards.

There are six main stages of grief, shock, denial, anger, guilt, depression and acceptance. To work through these stages takes time and courage. Society at large does not understand the process and generally expect grievers to bounce back to “normal” in a few days. Most employers will allow a day off to attend the services, maybe a week at best; but within a few weeks, you’re expected to be back to your original self and fully productive. The truth is that in the first few weeks, grievers are still in the beginning stages of the grief process and they are anything but “back to normal”. Often the reality of the situation only starts to sink in six weeks to three months following the loss.

Being able to reach out and comfort a grieving person is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Your time, patience, understanding and support are invaluable. Never be afraid to let someone know you care.

In my next column I’ll begin discussing the stages of grief. In the meantime remember to hold hands. It heals hearts. (next)

God Bless You.