This morning I read a Facebook post asking for prayers for the poster’s friend whose two dogs escaped the fenced-in back yard. Tragically, both dogs were killed while trying to cross a nearby highway. The Facebook poster was wondering what he could possibly say to his friend to make him feel better.
When trying to comfort someone who is facing a profound loss like this, knowing what or what not to say can be daunting and perplexing. With the best of intentions, people frequently offer platitudes that make grievers feel worse. Examples include at least it wasn’t your kids; a new puppy will help; you’ll feel better in a few days; don’t cry or you’ll make me cry; or you just need to be alone for awhile to get yourself together.
Rather than being helpful, statements like these isolate grievers. The message is that being strong for others is more important than grieving the loss. These types of statements also encourage grievers to minimize the impact of the loss and the emotional value of their pet(s). This can be very hurtful. Ignoring grief or pushing it aside can have serious physical, emotional and mental ramifications.
So, what can you do or say that will help? Very often there are no words that can help. By just being there without saying anything sends a powerful message. It says, “I am here for you and I care.” As noted in an earlier post, more often than not, grievers just want to be heard and to share memories and their feelings, without comparison, judgment, well-meaning platitudes or unsolicited advice. The Grief Recovery Method® uses the metaphor of a heart with ears, no mouth.
The Grief Recovery Method®, Grief Recovery Support Groups or the Grief Recovery One-on-One Programs offers grievers the opportunity to be heard in a safe, confidential, accepting environment and to learn a new way to deal with grief. There is also a special program for those grieving the loss of beloved pet(s). Remember, it is never too soon to begin your recovery. Please call me. I can help.
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