Friday, 22 February 2013

Helping Ease The Pain Of Loss

Grief is such a complex thing. It is a hard, horrible process to go through. One that each individual tackles differently.

With the sudden passing of a lovely lady and neighbour recently, we have watched as a friend has dealt with the turmoil and heartache. He and his wife spent most of their free time together. They clearly were compatible and enjoyed each others company. They both worked hard, and had each other and their dogs.

We have struggled ourselves.
Obviously not on the same scale as our friend, but nonetheless, struggled to make sense of her passing, and explaining life and death to our children.

The thing I have found the hardest is finding the balance of being there for our friend, without smothering him with our presence.

Over the years, we have come to know our neighbours reasonably well, and have enjoyed a chat and a laugh over the fence on a regular basis. We keep an eye on each others homes and pets. We exchange presents at Christmas. They are treasured neighbours and lovely friends.

Our friend told us the news himself. That, in itself, would have been extremely hard.
We have looked to him for signs in helping him through this time, and hopefully we are reading them right.
If he wants to chat, then he will, sometimes for hours. If he is not up for a chat, he will give a wave and greeting, but then continue with his chores in his yard.
We have freely talked about his wife and her wonderful ways and humour. This talk flows freely, not at all awkward, and I feel he is needing to still mention her often.
We have also invited him to join us for a few meals, making sure that it is more of a suggestion than a forceful request, and one that can be accepted or denied easily.
We have also dropped meals to his door, as I feel sure that he needs some time to himself, to process and adjust.

Hubby and I have also thought long and hard about other ways we can be there for our friend.
This is hard, as we know in our relationship, as well as those of our parents, there are roles that each person in a marriage usually takes on. One is usually more money savvy, one arranges things, one does paperwork, one does the wheeling and dealing, one does the majority of cooking, one maintains the house, one maintains the yard....so we have informed our friend on several occasions that we are more than happy to help where we can.

We are not the only friends/family that our friend has that is looking out for him, and he has proved himself very capable with the funeral arrangements. He and hubby have made plans for a future fishing trip, which they will both enjoy together.

It has been several weeks since our friend lost his wife, so we will continue to be there for a chat and assistance if he needs. I feel that having people around, for when he is wanting to talk or needing company, is the most important factor at this stage.

Have you experienced loss and grief and have suggestions on how to help, or shed some light on how you felt through the process?


Linking up with my favourite links for Friday.