I Did Not Know What To Say Blog

Posts Tagged ‘tips and inspiration for helping a friend that has lost a loved one’

In Loving Memory of a Widow: Quiet Reflections…and Loud Actions

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on April 28, 2011

Guest Post from  
http://widowswearstilettos.blogspot.com/2011/04/in-loving-memory-of-widow-quiet.html

Today is a very quiet day.
 
Make no mistake – it’s still a typical Tuesday at work.  Lots to do, lots to write, lots of deadlines, emails, phone calls…
Lots of…stuff.
 
But it’s still a very quiet day.
 
It’s one of those rare times where I struggle for words – but not for tears.  Tears are coming easily.
 
Because we lost one of our own yesterday.
 
She was one of our own because she was a member of our widowed community.  She belonged to every single one of us.
 
Every single widow/er who knows the incredible pain and despair.
 
Every single organization who seeks to help and support the widowed community.
 
Every single organization who is dedicated to allaying suffering and bringing healing to those in pain.
 
She was one of us.
 
I did not know her personally – but that really doesn’t matter.  She was a part of our community.
 
She was one of us.
 
The question of what causes someone to take tragic measures always looms large.  And in the days to come, many will ask that question.  Many close to her will suffer from the guilt that such a tragedy leaves in its wake.  People will ask questions:
 
“Were there any signs?”
 
“Why didn’t she get help?”
 
“How could she do ‘this’ to her children?”
 
All questions for which there may never be any answers.  But I do know this.
 
Sometimes there are no “signs”.
 
Sometimes a person doesn’t know how to ask for help – or thinks that it makes them look weak or wimpy to look at another person and say, “I can’t deal with this”.
 
And she did nothing “to” her children.  For as I have said in the past, oftentimes a person who takes their own life isn’t necessarily “choosing” to leave…it is simply too painful for them to stay.
 
A horrifically permanent solution to what can be a temporary situation. 
 
I don’t know of any widow support organization who has not intervened at one time or another on behalf of a widow/er in despair.  Many of us have sought training to do so as effectively as possible.  Recalling the time years ago that I was on vacation and received a letter via email that mentioned suicide, I now travel with the telephone number of crisis hotlines at the ready…just in case. 
In the days to come, there will be pain of unbelievable measure.  There will be much speculation.  At some point in time, there may even be blame assessed.  And at least one person will say something that is unbelievably mind-numbingly stupid…
 
But not from our community.  Never from the widowed.
 
Because we’ve been there.
 
We know that pain.  We know the despair. 
 
We’ve been startled by the sound of feral wailing that came from within ourselves because the pain in the pit of our stomachs and the breaking of our hearts was almost too much to bear.
 
We’ve suffered the lonely nights laying awake in the dark and praying for an uneasy sleep.
 
We’ve endured the ridiculous comments (and worse) from those around us.
 
We’ve fought for financial benefits to which we were rightfully entitled; only to have doors slammed in our faces.
 
We have been betrayed (and worse) by those who were supposed to have our backs. 
 
We know.
 
And so, while today is admittedly a quiet day – it nonetheless calls for very loud action.  And I’m really good at being really loud.
 
Please….PLEASE…if or when that day comes that you feel that you just can’t go another step on your own journey…REACH OUT!  Reach out to another widow/er – it doesn’t matter who they are; just the fact that they are widowed will bring you comfort in the immediate and love and friendship for the long haul.  REACH OUT to any one or ALL of the wonderful organizations that you know are out there.  That’s why we’re here…to help YOU.  We WANT to help.  We WANT to get you through the pain to a place of peace.  That is our entire purpose for existing.  Support.  Comfort.  Community.  Strength.  And if we can’t help you, we’ll get you to someone who can…immediately and absolutely FREE of charge. 
 
And remember…it is not a sign of strength to try and go through this alone – nor is it a sign of weakness to say, “I need help”.
She was one of us.
 
As a sadly-large community of the widowed, let us all declare that her death will not be in vain.  Let us recommit every day to helping one another recover – and when we are able, reaching out to others who are in pain.
 
She was one of us.
 
She was not the first.
 
But please…Dear Lord…let her be the last.
 
And may she rest in peace.
 
Written in honor and memory of Nichole Haycock.
 
 

About Carole Brody Fleet

Carole Brody Fleet is the award-winning author of the critically-acclaimed, “Widows Wear Stilettos: A Practical and Emotional Guide for the Young Widow”  (New Horizon Press) and “I’m ‘Heeling’ One Day at a Time: The ULTIMATE, One-and-Only Question, Answer and Reference Guide to Life After Widowhood” (due in 2011); as well as the author and executive producer of the best-selling CD entitled, “Widows Wear Stilettos: What Now?”.   To learn more about Widows Wear Stilettos; including the newly formed “First Month” Foundation as well as Widows Wear Stilettos’ nationwide in-person support groups, visit www.widowswearstilettos.com.

 
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Posted in Grief Resources, Grief Support Discussion Topics, Loss of a Spouse, Suicide Survivors, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on April 26, 2011

Knowing what not to say can be just as important as finding the right words to comfort a loved one when they are grieving.  Many of the following sayings might seem on the surface to be the “right” thing to say; after all you have probably heard them said at a funeral.  However, to a person grieving these common “words of support” encourage them to deny their true emotions and can be hurtful.

Here are a few sayings to try to avoid:

  1. The I’ll be there For You…But Not Really Response.
     
    Call me if you need to talk! (but the person is always too busy to talk to you).
     

    When you are feeling extremely vulnerable, you want to be able to count on friends and family to be there for you.  One of the most common stories I have heard from those that are grieving, are that friends and even family often avoid them when they need them the most.  Try to do your best to return phone calls and stop by and listen.  It may seem difficult at times but it can be truly healing to a friend in need.
     
  2. The Look on the Bright Side Response
    Your loss is nothing compared to what I heard in the news the other day, you should be thankful.  You are young; you can always have another child.  Don’t worry, you can always get remarried.  Don’t be sad, they are in a better place now.  Your mother lived a long life; you shouldn’t be upset that she passed away.  
     

    Grief is unique to each individual.  Just because someone else’s life may be more dramatic does not make your friend’s pain any less important to them.  Allow your loved one to freely share their personal story. 
     
  3. The Overly Negative Response
    You must feel so lost.  Things are really going to be awful for you for awhile.  You poor thing, life will never be the same. You must have a dark cloud over you.  How do you think your loved one would feel if they saw you like this?  If you were more religious these things would not be happening to you.
     

    Someone who is grieving is already feeling overwhelmed and sad.  These negative comments have a way of making someone feel even worse.  If you are really trying to sympathize with their feelings, try asking them how they are feeling and allow them to express what they are going through.
     
  4. The Just Get Over It Response
     
    Are you better now?  Your loved one passed away so long ago, why are you still upset?  Crying and being depressed will not bring your loved one back.  Oh it’s just an animal, you can get another one.
     

    Grief is not a disease or a psychological condition you can take a pill for and be cured.  You don’t “just get over it”. When you have experienced a loss, you learn day by day to live your life without your loved one but the loss is not erased from your memory.  Allow your friend to heal at their own pace.

Wow, so is there anything you can say? 

Most people do not consciously say things to be hurtful.  They have either heard them said a hundred times so they don’t understand how they might affect someone or they become so nervous about saying the “right” thing that the words come out awkward.

One of the most important things to remember when you are trying to comfort a grieving friend is to not diminish their feelings.   Grief is normal.  You may become uncomfortable when watching someone go through the deep emotional pain that can occur when someone is grieving, that is normal too.  If you desire to be a supportive friend, allow the person to feel the full range of emotions they are feeling – both the celebration of the person’s life and the deep feelings of loss and loneliness.   By allowing grief to take its natural progression you will assist your friend reach a sense of balance in their life. 

The best thing you can do is keep it simple and heartfelt.   Not sure what to say… why not start with asking yourself this simple question… What would you like someone to say to you if you lost a loved one?  

Remember to…Hug them, Love them, Show up and Listen.  You will do more for your friend by showing up and listening than any words can ever say. 

© 2011 Lori Pederson
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What To Say, a website created to inspire and to provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process. If you would like our free newsletter on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one, please visit our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

Posted in What Not To Say, What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

I Did Not Know What To Say Newsletter Archives

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on April 9, 2011

We invite you to join our free newsletter mailing list on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one.

Our past issues are listed below for you to explore and pass on to your friends or family members that may find the information helpful.

Are you an expert in the grief recovery field? Do you have a story about your own life experience dealing with the loss of a loved one that you would like to share? Do you have tips or suggestions on how to assist a loved one after a loss? We would love to hear from you. We are open to article and story submissions for our website, newsletter and Facebook page. Please email us at info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com.

If you have a product or service that you would like to advertise on our website or in one of our upcoming newsletters, please visit our website for more details on our advertising opportunities – http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/advertise.html

We invite you to explore our Newsletter Archive

WELCOME Newsletter
Featured Article: What To Say… When You Don’t Know What To Say
by Lori Pederson, Founder, I Did Not Know What To Say

AUGUST 2009 Newsletter
Featured Article: SHOULD I OR SHOULDN’T I?
by Ann Leach, President, Life Preservers: a global grief support community

SEPTEMBER 2009 Newsletter
Featured Article: Operation: Heaven
Writings & Tips for those who know someone who has lost their hero in the military.
by Taryn Davis – Founder/President, The American Widow Project

OCTOBER 2009 Newsletter
Featured Article: The Simple Ingredients for a Less Stressful Life
by Jill Rheaume

NOVEMBER 2009 Newsletter – Happy Thanksgiving
Featured Article: Be the Gift of Comfort, Joy and Love this Holiday Season
by Lori Pederson

DECEMBER 2009 Newsletter – Happy Holidays
Featured Article: Less Than Perfect
by Lori Pederson

JANUARY 2010 Newsletter – HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Where we have been… Where we are going… & How you can assist us reach our goals in 2010

FEBRUARY 2010 Newsletter
Featured Article: Are Grief & Depression the Same Thing?
by Mark D. Miller M.D.

MARCH 2010 Newsletter
Featured Article: Our Interview with Mary-Suzanne Peters on Reference Point Therapy

APRIL 2010 Newsletter
Featured Article: What Grieving Moms Want for Mother’s Day: The Comfort Company Offers 10 Simple Ways to help Moms Cope When Mother’s Day Hurts

MAY 2010 Newsletter
Featured Article: The Gift of Listening
by Lori Pederson

JUNE 2010 Newsletter
Featured Article: What to Do on Father’s Day When Dad is Deceased
by Laurie Mueller, RTC, ID, AED, MEd

JULY 2010 Newsletter
Featured Article: Tips for Feeding Grieving Friends
by Tamar Fox

AUGUST 2010 Newsletter
Featured Article: A Hug to Remember
by Lori Pederson

SEPTEMBER 2010 Newsletter
Featured Article: Helping a Suicide Survivor Heal
by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.

OCTOBER 2010 Newsletter
Featured Article: On Writing: Your Stories Can Heal Your Heart
by Joan Hitchens, Storybooks for Healing

NOVEMBER 2010 Newsletter – Happy Thanksgiving
Featured Article: Five Things You Can Do For a Grieving Widow
by Marcy Kelly, Author of From Sorrow to Dancing

DECEMBER 2010 Newsletter – Happy Holidays
Featured Article: 12 Simple Ways to Support a Grieving Friend this Holiday Season
by Lori Pederson

JANUARY 2011 Newsletter – Happy New Year!
Featured Article: The Art of the Inspirational Adventure
Helping your Love One Find Fun & Adventure in the Grieving Process
by Lori Pederson, Founder I Did Not Know What To Say

FEBRUARY 2011 Newsletter – Happy Valentine’s Day
Featured Article: HAVE A “SINGLE-Y SENSATIONAL” VALENTINE’S DAY
by Carole Brody Fleet, Author of Widows Wear Stilettos

MARCH 2011 Newsletter
Featured Article: The Myths Surrounding Suicide
by Catherine Greenleaf

APRIL 2011 Newsletter
Featured Article: What Not to Say to a Grieving Loved One
by Lori Pederson

Posted in Grief Resources - Newsletter, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Don’t Miss Our Monthly Newsletter

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on January 20, 2011

Don’t miss our monthly newsletter featuring tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist a loved one through the journey of restoring balance in their life after a loss.

January 2011 – Featured Article:

 The Art of the Inspirational Adventure
Helping your Love One Find Fun & Adventure in the Grieving Process
by Lori Pederson, Founder I Did Not Know What To Say

To read more, Click on the link below to sign up for our Monthly Newsletter: http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/mailinglist.html

Our Newsletter includes tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one.

Plus You will receive my FREE Special Report, “Twenty-Five Supportive Things You Can Do For Someone That Has Lost a Loved One ~ Plus Ten Thoughtful Gift Ideas”

Posted in Grief Resources - Newsletter, Inspiration, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Share Your Story – Inspirational Grief Support Stories

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on November 19, 2010

Inspirational Grief Support Stories – How Have Others Assisted You In Your Grief Recovery?

We invite you to Share Your Story on how your friends and family assisted you in restoring balance in your life after a loss. Please submit your inspirational stories, letters/cards that have reached your heart, a favorite quote or poem, an unforgettable adventure/trip, a favorite song, an inspirational movie, a book that touched your life or a list of what you wished your friends had done for you

We hope by sharing your story you will inspire others to give the gift of love and compassion to their loved ones that are grieving.

How To Submit Your Story
Stories may be submitted in writing or in video format.
Please email your story to us at:

By Email: info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com

Please include your Name, the name of the person who wrote the submission (if different) and your address, so we may contact you should we use your submission.

Your contact information will only be used to contact you should we wish to post your submission on
our website or in our upcoming book “I Did Not Know What to Say”. We will never sell your information to any third party vendor.

If your submission is used on our website or in our upcoming book “I Did Not Know What to Say”, we will be sure that both you and the author are credited for your submission. If you wish to stay anonymous, please note that on your submission. No publishing/authorship experience necessary. Authorship credit given in addition to a free copy of the book when published. No monetary compensation will be provided.

To view inspirational messages that others have contributed, please visit our Inspiration page for thoughts and ideas. New resources will be added each week.

Thank you for your contribution!

Lori

Posted in Grief Resources, Share Your Story, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Stress and Dealing with Loss

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on April 29, 2010

Our Interview featured on Our Stressfull Lives.

Dealing with loss of a loved one can be difficult, but what about the friends, family members, and co-workers who are trying to offer help and support? The stress that can come from helping someone through the grief process can be overwhelming at times and often we just don’t know what to say or do to help.

Lori Pederson is the creator of www.IdidNotKnowWhattoSay.com (I Did Not Know What To Say) and specializes in helping those who are supporting someone else through the loss of a loved one and through the grieving process.

Lori was generous enough to take the time to answer a few questions to help us learn how to deal with loss from the perspective of the caring and concerned friend, family member, or co-worker to help relieve some of the stress that comes with helping those who are experiencing great loss.

OurStressfulLives.com: Helping a friend, family member, or co-worker dealing with loss can be stressful. What encouragement or insight do you have for those who are stressed by the difficulty of finding the best way to help their friend/family member grieve?

Lori Pederson: First, recognize that your friend or colleague may not know what they need in the first few weeks after they have experienced a loss. Offer your support by listening and assisting them with the daily tasks of living-grocery shopping, cleaning house, taking children to school, etc.

Know your limits. If you start feeling overwhelmed with assisting your friend with the heavy emotions that can come with grief, try to assist them in finding a grief support group. You may want to offer to attend a grief support group with them to give them emotional support.

OurStressfulLives.com: Do you find that friends and family members of people who are grieving experience higher levels of stress during that time?

Lori Pederson: The grieving process can be stressful for everyone. Friends and family often don’t know what to say or do for someone that is going through deep emotional pain. We often want to try to “fix” the person and not being able to take the pain away can be stressful.

I remember when my aunt passed away, my uncle would go through periods of deep sobbing. It was so difficult to watch, not only because I was dealing with my own feelings of loss but I felt helpless and unable to “fix” his pain. After watching him go through his deep emotional pain, I found that it was so important for him to go through the deep feelings to get to the other side of his grief.

Remember that you do not have to “fix” the person and that it is ok to allow them to go through the necessary stages of grief. Knowing that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel helps ease some of the stress.

OurStressfulLives.com: What are your suggestions for those who experience stress when dealing with a friend or family member who is grieving?

Lori Pederson:
Know your limits. If the stress of dealing with your friend or family member becomes too much for you, be honest and try to find a support group for yourself as well as your loved one.

Take a time out. Dealing with someone in grief 24-7 can be very stressful. Know that it is ok to take time for you.

Try to incorporate fun and exercise into your day. It is ok to try to incorporate fun into your life and the life of those grieving. Find ways that bring joy back into your friend’s life. What do they enjoy doing? What is a great adventure you can take them on? Exercise is also a wonderful way to relieve stress. Take them for a walk; get them out of the house. This will help both of you.

OurStressfulLives.com: I’ve found that some people can experience anger when grieving, which can be stressful on those around them, especially if the person who is grieving doesn’t want any help or support. How do you suggest friends and family members deal with someone who is grieving “angrily”?

Lori Pederson: Don’t take it personally. I know this is very difficult to do. You first need to understand that the person is projecting their fears and deep sadness onto those around them. Anger is also one of the many stages of grief.

In 1993 I lost my mother to ovarian cancer, two weeks later my aunt was killed in a car accident and one of my mentors also passed away from ovarian cancer. I was trying very hard to keep myself together. I had just returned to work and during a meeting a colleague of mine was acting inappropriately. After the meeting I found myself extremely angry and I started yelling at her and could not stop (not my finest moment). What happened next was truly a gift. Instead of becoming angry and taking it personally or even yelling back at me, she just came up to me and gave me a hug. To this day I am extremely grateful that my friend chose to show support and compassion instead of greeting me with more anger.

OurStressfulLives.com: Many people consider their pets to be part of their family, I certainly do. When someone is grieving over the loss of a pet, do the same “rules” apply for helping them grieve, or is there something different/special you suggest people do to help with that type of grief?

Lori Pederson: Pets provide unconditional love and companionship. Many people are insensitive when it comes to the loss of a pet. They figure you can just get another one. For people that love their pets, it is not that simple. The loss of a pet can cause a great void in the life of their owner.

Understanding, thoughtfulness and support are wonderful gifts you can give your loved one when they have lost a pet.

We have also found some wonderful Pet Sympathy gifts and have listed them on our site at:
www.IdidNotKnowWhattoSay.com/gifts.html

OurStressfulLives.com: What do you want readers of OurStressfulLives.com to know about you and/or your website?

Lori Pederson: I created I Did Not Know What To Say in April 2009 as a platform to inspire and provide resources to people that wanted to help their friends and family through the grieving process. My expertise comes from those experiences that only life can provide. Over the past twenty years, I have lost many family members, including my mother to ovarian cancer, as well as many friends, colleagues and pets.

Throughout my life I have been blessed with many friends and relatives that were there for me as I experienced these great losses. I understand that although people want to help, they often don’t know where to start. I Did Not Know What To Say.com was created out of my desire to assist people find the words when they don’t know what to say or do.

For more tips and support to help you live a less stressful life, sign up for your Free monthly copy of the Stress Free Living ezine!

© 2010 Lori Pederson
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:  Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What To Say, a website built to inspire and to provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process.   If you would like our free newsletter on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one, please visit our website at www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com.
 
 

Posted in Gratitude, Grief Resources, Inspiration, Loss of a Mother, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Join the Discussion

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on March 12, 2010

We will be posting our discussion topics here on our Blog and on our Facebook page. We invite you to join in on the discussion on either site. Discussion Topic:

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighten the flame within us.” ~ Albert Schweitzer ~

 We invite you to express your Gratitude for someone that was instrumental in assisting you through the grieving process.

Please post your comments below.

Posted in Gratitude | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

We are open for Article & Interview Submissions

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on January 9, 2010

We are open for article submission for our newsletter on the following topics: 

  • Tips on how to assist a loved one through the grieving process
  • Inspirational stories on recovering after the loss of a loved one
  • Inspirational stories on living your best life
  • Featured stories on inspirational adventures
  • Featured stories on individuals and organizations that are making a difference in the grief recovery field
  • How to articles on planning for a future without you (i.e. Life Insurance, Estate Planning, and Funeral Planning)

We are also looking for authors to be interviewed as part of our Virtual Book Tour.

 If you are an author of one of the following types of books, please contact us to be included in our 2010 Virtual Book Tour:

  •  Recovering from the loss of a loved one (child, spouse, sibling, significant other, parent, grandparent, friend, and pet)
  • Inspirational stories on recovering from the loss of a loved one
  • Inspirational books on living your best life

 We are looking for the following types of professionals to interview as part of our Planning for a Life Without You™ series:

  • Funeral Planner/Director
  • Estate Planning Attorneys
  • Life Insurance Providers

 Have an idea for an article? Want to be interviewed?  We would love to hear from you.

 Please submit your idea or article to us at info@ididnotknowwhattosay.com

Posted in Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, Inspiration, Planning For A Future Without You | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

I Did Not Know What To Say Newsletter – Sign Up Today!

Posted by ididnotknowwhattosay on October 19, 2009

Don’t miss our monthly newsletter featuring tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist a loved one through the journey of restoring balance in their life after a loss.

October 2009-Featured Article:

The Simple Ingredients for a Less Stressful Life by Jill Rheaume
Jill Rheaume is the owner and creator of www.OurStressfulLives.com

Stress. Stress creeps into all parts of our lives when we let it. We can even be stressed when we’re happy. But when we’re sad, stress seems magnified like our lives are moving in slides on the big screen…

To read more, Click on the link below to sign up for our Monthly Newsletter:
http://www.ididnotknowwhattosay.com/mailinglist.html

Our Newsletter includes tips, articles and inspirational stories on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a love one.
Plus
You will receive my FREE Special Report, “Twenty-Five Supportive Things You Can Do For Someone That Has Lost a Loved One ~ Plus Ten Thoughtful Gift Ideas”

Posted in Grief Resources, Grief Resources - Newsletter, What to do for someone that is grieving | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »