Sara was in high school when her dad died suddenly. Life after that was like climbing a mountain - some days were an uphill battle, some an easier climb, always better with help from others, and with a view that was sometimes foggy and sometimes clear for miles. Even nearly two decades later, there isn't a day that goes by without thinking about her dad, but that's a good thing.Read More
When someone is grieving we can feel at a loss for words. Sometimes we speak quickly and unintentionally our words can be very hurtful. On the other hand, we can also be so afraid we will say the wrong thing that we don't say anything at all. Both can cause additional heartache to those grieving.
Below are a few quick tips on what to say, what not to say, and how to be a good friend to someone who is grieving.
It is almost always better to say "I am at a loss of words," or "I wish I knew what to say," then nothing at all.
What to say:
“I’m here if you want to talk.”
“It’s okay to cry in front of me.”
“I’ve been thinking about you. I’m so sorry this happened.”
“I can see you’re sad today, want to talk about it?”
"How is today?"
What NOT to say:
“At least your Dad is still alive.”
“Don’t cry, you have to be strong for your Mom and little sister.”
“I know how you feel.”
“At least he’s not in pain anymore.”
“God needed him in Heaven.”
What to do for your friend:
Just be a friend by being there, it means a lot.
Send a quick text telling them you are thinking of them.
Still invite your friend to do fun things even when he/she is hurting.
Ask your friend about a good memory of the person who died.
Remember the potential hard days for them and make a card, send a note, or call on Birthdays, Christmas, death anniversaries, etc.
Liz Dreibelbis, A Haven's Clinical Director, speaks on one of the reasons she chose to do this work.Read More
Father's Day can be a difficult day for children and adults alike who have experienced the death of their Father. Below are 3 tips to help with the days leading up to this Sunday, Father's Day.
Acknowledging that Father's Day is Sunday to kids and adults will help them feel less alone. While a lot of others are celebrating they might feel like they don't know what to do.
Know that Father's Day may bring up a wide range of emotions.
There are no wrong emotions. It's okay to NOT be okay. And it is okay to be okay.
Be patient with yourself and the kids. Grief is unpredictable and every person feels differently.
Know you have a choice in what you do with the feelings that do come up. It is okay to express your feelings and model healthy coping in front of children. That way they know all feelings are okay.
Coming up with a plan can help ease anxiety. Give your children a few choices. Know you are the expert in what you need and you know your children best.
Think about a ritual or new tradition to remember Fathers can be a way to release some of the pain and hurt. Release a balloon, make a special meal, write a letter, visit the grave or listen to his favorite song. These are all healthy, beautiful ways to honor the Father in your life. Finally, explain to kids that their Dad is still their Dad no matter what. Or if there is another "Father figure" in their lives ask them if they'd like to do something for him. Either or both options are okay.
Do you have a friend or family member who has experienced the death of their Father or their children's Father?
In person, try not to avoid the subject. Tell them you are thinking of them. Words are not always needed; acknowledging the loss and a simple hug can be just what someone needs. If your friend seems up to talking - ask them about some memories of their Father or their children's father. Take cues from your friend, every person is different in what they need and it can change by the hour or the day. Your presence will mean a lot.
Finally, send a card, text or a little note telling them you are thinking of them knowing this day may be hard for them.
We know this day can be difficult for those who are hurting. If you have experiences on what has helped you or your family - please share below.
Have you ever looked up to the sky and saw a flock of geese flying in a V-formation and wondered why they do that? Yeah, me too...Read More