How to Help a Grieving Friend
Do you have a friend or family member who has has recently lost a loved one? If so, you may be struggling with what to say. Sue Frederick, author of Bridges to Heaven: True Stories of Loved Ones on the Other Side, has 3 conversations that can help both you and your friend heal from the loss.
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If you have a friend or loved one who has lost someone dear to them, you’re called into action to help. Both of you will benefit profoundly from the deep sharing, exploration, and communication that can occur when someone is grieving. This is especially true if you’re willing to think outside the box and go beyond the conventional boundaries of grief discussions.
Your task, if you really want to help your friend, is to take them gently through the following 3 conversations. They are outlined in my new book Bridges to Heaven: True Stories of Loved Ones on the Other Side. This process will help your friend experience a powerful healing shift in perspective.
Conversation #1: Tell Me Your Story
Open your heart and listen. Grieving people need to share their experience and tell their story. In our culture, we’re uncomfortable with death. We feel it’s impolite to ask someone the details of how their loved one died or how they feel now.
Yet when you connect your open-heart energy with their loss and listen deeply to their story, you become a healer. A story of painful loss can’t be fully released until it has been fully told. Become the sounding board and listen to it all detail by detail. Eventually, the grieving person needs to surrender this story and change their perspective from “here’s my tragic tale” to “here’s my life-changing experience.” Guiding your friend through the conversations outlined here helps them make that life-changing shift.
To initiate your first healing conversation, call or visit your friend and, with an open heart, ask how it happened. Once you’re able to help them start talking, they’ll pour their heart out to you; it’s a story longing to be shared in all of its painful details.
Every therapist, coach, or healer starts with compassionate questions. People who are grieving need to talk and share their pain. It’s essential to healing. You can become the healing catalyst for this exchange. Here are some examples of questions to get you started:
- Tell me the story of his death. Was it sudden? How long was he or she sick?
- Were you with her at the moment of crossing over?
- What was that experience like for you?
- Did you have any premonitions or dreams about this death before it happened?
- Have you had any visits from him or dreams that he was in since the death?
- Tell me about their life. What did you love the most about them? What do you miss the most? Ask your friend to share their best memories.
- What would your departed loved one want you to do now to fulfill your life’s mission here?
- If he were standing here now what would he say to you?
- What would he want you to do with your life and career to move forward?
- What would you say to him?