According to William Worden, member of the American Psychological Association, grief is “the experience of the person who has lost a loved one” (Worden, 2004). It has other meanings, as we can also go through a grieving process when we lose a partner, a job or a health. But the most common definition is that it refers to the death of someone important to us.
Dealing with a duel takes time and involves intense emotions for the victim. But also in those around you. Supporting the grieving process is not an easy taskAs each person faces losses in a different way.
Key ideas for supporting people in mourning
On many occasions, Doubts arise as to whether he is being helped or if something more could be done for the family member or friend who suffered the loss.. While there are no prescriptions and it is always best to ask the person directly what they need, there are some aspects that we can consider in the task of supporting those who are grieving. psychological.
1. The importance of our gaze
There are many ways to approach someone who is in pain.: From a descriptive and analytical point of view, from the fear of saying or doing something that is not appropriate, of a position of advisor … In order to be able to help someone who is going through a duel, we must be prepared to experience and share with this person any emotion, feeling or belief that arises, without judgments, theories or recommendations.
Looking at the other is more than seeing him. It has to do with approach out of curiosity, empathy and respect. Only this makes it easier for the grieving person to come into contact with their emotions and put words into what is happening to them. Only then will he feel heard and safe.
2. The value of being there
Sometimes we wonder over and over again what to do and what to say to alleviate the suffering of those we love. It is worth asking whether we place more importance on being. Maybe others just need us to be there and available.
But … what does it mean to be there? To be there is to provide emotional and physical support. It requires us to be able to contain, support and comfort when emotions arise. But, also, that we are able to ask for more pragmatic aspects, without anticipating ourselves and without interfering in the routine and the way of dealing with our beloved.
3. Our role as companions
Accompanying an injured person is not an easy task. It is an act of love, in which we observe another person’s suffering and agree to get involved in it so as not to just go through it.
It is essential to remember that this process belongs only to the victim, although the companion plays the role of catalyst, that is, it promotes the progression of the duel without having a leading role. .
To fulfill this function, the importance of allowing emotional expression and of providing instrumental assistance in specific aspects of daily life has already been described. Other ways to help can be: maintaining the memory of the deceased (thus preventing it from becoming a taboo subject), instilling hope, and helping the grieving person to make daily decisions and acquire, at their own pace, an active position as the protagonist of their life.
4. What is at stake for the patient: emptiness, forgetting identity and meaning
The person who just lost a loved one faces a borderline situation in which he may experience a crisis of values and even identity. It should be noted that not all people experience loss with this intensity, being more susceptible after traumatic or unexpected deaths.
The person who survives the death must come to terms with the death of a loved one and learn to cope with the anguish of loss. In many aspects, even in everyday life, a feeling of emptiness can appear, in relation to the tasks or activities for which the deceased was in charge or which were shared with him.
In addition, the fear of forgetting appears, the mourning having to reformulate the meaning of the disc and move from a sensory memory to one that projects the imprint of the loved one into the future and that he gives meaning to his days.
5. The paradoxes of the encounter
Just as we have to share our experiences with others in order to go through them, sometimes we also need our own space. Grieving people can run into contradictions with regard to their desire to be isolated and their desire, not incompatible, to be accompanied. It is important to frame these situations in the context of grief, without taking them as a personal thing.
6. Own limits
Finally, we have to talk about the needs of the companion. Getting involved in the pain of the other can eliminate unresolved aspects of oneself or involve a great deal of emotional wear and tear. It is therefore not necessary to stop being connected to oneself and to know how to stop, clarify and manage the level of involvement.
If aspects are detected that go beyond what is considered normal grief (or what we think we can handle), it is advisable to seek help from the appropriate professionals.
• Viktor E. Frankl Association. (2014). Mourning and Significance: Significance and Value of Loss. Barcelona, Spain: Editorial Segell. • I became, M. (February 4, 2019). How to Help a Grieving Friend – Refuge In Grief. Retrieved December 22, 2019 from https://www.refugeingrief.com/helper-overview/ • Worden, JW (2004). Bereavement treatment: psychological counseling and therapy. (2nd ed.). Barcelona, Spain: Paidós.