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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Conversation #2: The Spirituality Question
This second healing conversation should happen after your grieving friend has had some time to get her life back to a routine; after the funeral and after the relatives have gone home. Use your intuition to know when it’s time.
When you’re ready to begin, say, “Please tell me what you believe in spiritually. Do you follow a religion or do you have a daily spiritual practice of some kind - and how’s it working for you?”
Ask the grieving person to share the details of their spiritual journey; how they were raised, what they believe in or don’t believe in now, and whether spirituality is a focus of their daily life or not. Ask if they pray or meditate every day and ask them to describe how they do it and what their experience has been with the process. Ask if they feel satisfied with the answers that their current spiritual belief system is providing.
The purpose of this conversation is to unfold the many complex beliefs a person might have to get to the core of their spirituality—which may be different from their religion. There’s a difference between spirituality and religion. Religion is a set of beliefs and rules governed by a church. If the grieving person is already deeply comforted by their church and does not question its beliefs, that’s terrific. But if they’re not fully satisfied with their church’s answers, it’s time to have an open discussion of the bigger picture of spirituality. When they’re in pain, their most pressing questions are, “Why did this loss happen?” and, “Where is my loved one now?” By helping them explore a broader spiritual (not religious) perspective you can help them find answers that are truly healing.
You’ll probably find that those who don’t believe in any form of spirituality, or anything beyond what they can see and touch, will be in the most pain. They’ll feel that their loved one has simply vanished and that life is meaningless and tragic. Yet this loss is their moment of true spiritual (again, not religious) awakening. It’s calling them to experience first-hand their own divine nature.
Having this spiritual conversation with a grieving person will require that you’ve already taken your own personal spiritual journey to look beyond the limits of religion and find your spiritual truth. If not, this is a great opportunity for you to do so.
To help your friend explore this bigger view of spirituality, offer to visit a monastery, ashram, or spiritual center with them. Invite your friend to step beyond their comfort zone and visit Hindu and Buddhist Ashrams, Unity Churches, Science of the Mind Churches, Kabala centers and whatever else they’re willing to try.
The most essential healing piece that you can provide is to teach them to meditate. By quieting their monkey mind, they’ll begin to have a personal daily experience of something greater than the physical world. You can offer to take a meditation class with them to get them started on this path.
Conversation #3: The Reconnection Ritual
Invite your friend to do this meditation with you when she’s ready. Explain that it’s most helpful when she’s feeling incomplete about her loved one’s departure and needs answers. It can be done by phone or in person.
We can all learn to access our connection to the higher realms and to our departed loved ones. But it does require the discipline of daily mediation to quiet the monkey mind and tap into our higher consciousness.
Offer to sit with your friend and guide them through a simple 10-minute meditation using mantra (sacred sound) or repetition of the Lord’s Prayer. Tell them to close their eyes and sit comfortably. Repeat the mantra or prayer out loud. The mantra Om Namah Shivaya is a powerful mantra to use. It means “I bow to divinity.”
After the rhythm of the mantra is established, sit together silently repeating the mantra for 10 minutes. When you both notice your thoughts getting in the way, gently bring your focus back to the sacred words.
At the end of 10 minutes, stop repeating the mantra and open your eyes. In this quiet space, ask them to speak directly to the departed – out loud. Share happy memories to call theit spirit into the room. Have them write down any images, ideas, or whispers that come during this process – especially when they ask the departed loved one specific questions. It is essential to quiet your thoughts through meditation to receive messages from beyond.
As you both explore your connection to another realm, you can begin to sense the departed loved one trying to comfort and love from beyond. The more you practice this meditation process, the stronger your connection to the other side will be. And the more powerfully healing this process will become.
An intuitive since childhood, Sue Frederick draws upon dreams, powerful intuition, and conversations with spirits to help you talk to your departed loved ones and heal your grief. She’s the founder of the Grief Intuitive Coaching Institute and has trained more than 300 Intuitive Coaches. She's a frequent guest on radio shows and has presented workshops at venues such The Omega Institute, Shambhala Mountain Retreat Center and the American Business Women's Association. She's the author of "I See Your Dream Job" and "I See Your Soul Mate." Check out more from Sue at SueFrederick.com.