If you want to help someone who is mourning, especially during the holidays, Steve Sweatt, clinical director of Community Grief Support, offers several tips:
- Be sensitive to the person’s safety. If survivors are isolating themselves, not bathing or drinking—showing signs of clinical depression, encourage them to seek professional help.
- Offer emotional support by listening, but don’t try to fix their problems.
- Helping them learn post-loss tasks like paying the bills, repairing the car, or filing tax returns.
- Check on loss survivors—send them cards or reminders that you care.
- Offer to take the person to lunch if you notice they are having an especially rough week.
Sweatt, a licensed professional counselor and a licensed marriage and family therapist, advises against offering pat clichés such as “God will see you through” or saying you understand how the person is feeling. “Say (if you have experienced a similar loss) ‘I can relate to how you feel. I’ve experienced a loss like yours,’” he said.
He noted several other good things to say, including:
- Would you like to talk?
- My heart goes out to you
- I’ll be with you over the long haul.
To help survivors deal with the apprehension, Community Grief Support is sponsoring a November 21 Hope for the Holidays program from 4–7 p.m. in the fellowship hall of Bethel Baptist Church in Pratt City. During the free event, participants will learn practical ways to cope with the celebrations of life throughout the year. A light meal will be served, and participants are invited to bring small photos of their loved ones to place on the remembrance table as candles are lit in loving memory. To register, call 205-870-8667.
To find out more about Community Grief Support, visit www.communitygriefsupport.org.