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Love the Grieving Ones

Blog

These are my thoughts, yo.

Love the Grieving Ones

jasmine banks

Loss is something we talk about rather haphazardly in our communities. When loss happens folks often check in frequently in the beginning. Within the first two weeks of a loss folks are often acutely aware of the pain their friends are experiencing. Some people check in because they want to know details. Others are genuinely sorry. Others feel obligation. Regardless the motivation, most folks not immediately impacted by the loss taper off.  Unfortunately, it is about that same timeframe (2 weeks) when the rawness of loss usually swells up. By then the friends are gone but the pain... the pain is turned up to a ten. During the holiday season we often feel our losses deeply. 

 

How to Love the Grieving Ones

  • give them space to talk. ask directly. would you like to tell me about what you are feeling
  • create space for their emotional reactions- don't make it about you or how you perceive things
  • help your friend create "memorial space" for their loved one. letters, pictures, candles, etc serve as a physical space while your friend is figuring out their feelings about their loss
  • call their loved one by their names. don't say "loss" or "death" as a euphemism for their loved one. ask them the person's name, and use it
  • check in passed the two week mark. if their loss was months or years ago, ask them what they need in support of their grieving process
  • show them moments of love in your life. remind them you care about them and that love and joy exist and do (eventually) come back around after the sting subsides

How to Be the Grieving One

  • you may not know what you need because the loss is overwhelming, allow your friends to extend love
  • be direct once you know what you want. ask for space or for company depending on what you prefer
  • don't feel shame needing to telling the story of your loss over and over again. this is your brain's way of making sense of loss
  • don't get stuck. allow yourself to remain open to joy and happiness. even though you are grieving you don't have to force yourself to avoid moments of happiness- they can serve as release
  • make a plan. how do you want to remember your loved one? what things will you keep around to remind you of their presence
  • take inventory of your relationships. in the coming months you may be taking a lot from your relationships without giving much. this is okay. you are grieving... so make sure you have friends who are willing to give- and who will not punish you for you temporary inability to reciprocate
  • say your loved one's name. tell your friends stories about them. avoidance is the best way to get stuck and cause deeper emotional issues for yourself
  • RELEASE expectations. grieving has not timeline or trajectory. feel the feelings.