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The experience of the death of a loved one is so painful that it takes a long time to return to normal. Those most painfully hurt by the incident need a lot of attention and care - even if they say they'll handle everything perfectly. The help of someone from the outside is often needed, who is not directly affected by this mourning, e.g. a member of extended family, friends or acquaintances.

So what can you do to cheer up your cousin or a close friend? Most of all, don't avoid talking about her problem. After all, silence about a deceased person will not help a person inmourningto cope withregretand the pain of her loss. Make contact with the orphan as soon as possible. Meet her, but try to create conditions and an atmosphere for conversation. Let it be a place she knows, likes and feels good there. There is no single best way to start a conversation. In every situation you have to rely on your own sensitivity andempathy . You can also lean on the mementos of the deceased - it gives the orphaned a substitute for warmth and closeness. However, do not try to force him to calm him down, and under no circumstances give advice such as: "Get a grip, you have someone to live for" - because you will achieve the opposite effect! If you say something, show your compassion, and if she does, listen carefully, don't interrupt, let her talk. This listening can be difficult. Boredom, fatigue may appear - this is the natural defense of the listener against the painful emotions of others. But if you do choose to have an interview, choose your words carefully. Just don't tell anyone what you don't want to hear yourself.

Group therapy for bereaved people

Another form of help for bereaved people are the so-called support groups, i.e. associations and clubs for people experiencing the loss of their loved ones. In the United States, they have been popular for a long time, there are still few such groups in Poland, but the number of such groups increases every year. If you are interested in this form of therapy, look for it at the Crisis Intervention Centers (they operate at hospices, foundations, psychological clinics) in your town. It is worth taking advantage of this type of support. The American experience shows that support groups are a better sourcehelp for people who have lost loved ones than contact with even the best psychologist. For if we are in a group of people who have the same problem, we open up to them faster, understand each other better and share our own feelings and experiences with them more willingly. This in turn allows for a smoother transition from shock, grief - through denial, lamentation, a sense of injustice, injustice, aggression - to the phase of life reorganization.

In a way, mourning helps us adopt a new identity - after losing a loved one, we become something different than before, so our life will also be different. But first you need to cry out the hurt and soothe the pain of parting.

The support group accepts all forms of expressing the despair of participants. For this reason, people often say things there that they would not dare to say, even to their loved ones - for fear of ridiculing themselves or hurting their feelings. In addition, in a support group you talk in a public forum - and openly talking about suffering helps to name and deal with problems faster. And this is the first step to finding a new meaning in your life.

How to support a bereaved person?

  • Be available to bereaved family members. Keep in touch with them.
  • Listen to them. Let them show their sadness and express whatever they want to share with other people at the moment.
  • Encourage them to talk about the person who has passed away. Sometimes even initiate these conversations.
  • Show that you accept and understand their feelings, and explain how they feel if necessary.
  • Be honest and open. Admit it if you don't know the answers to some difficult questions.
  • Encourage family memories to be shared, both good and less enjoyable (for example, you can suggest viewing albums with family photos or recordings of the celebration together).
  • Remember about important events in the life of your family (anniversaries, holidays, etc.).
  • Ask what kind of support is needed. Offer your help - let family members know you can always count on.

How to behave towards people who have suffered a loss?

  • Do not console the bereaved. Don't tell them not to be sad.
  • Don't tell them what they should feel and think.
  • Don't make them know what they are feeling because it's not true!
  • Don't say: "You should feel better" - even if a long time has passed since the death of a loved one.
  • Don't say: "At least you still have a mother (or father)."
  • No.question their values ​​or beliefs (e.g. religious beliefs).
  • Don't encourage your parents to hide their grief and sadness from their children.

The book by prof. Martin Herbert, "Mourning in the family", published by the Gdańsk Psychological Publishing House

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