Grief Education

Words and ways to comfort the bereaved

Don’t judge me unless you have looked through my eyes, experienced what i have, and cried as many tears as me. Until then back-off, cause you have no idea.

angel-of-grief

Today Matthew Warren died of suicide. He is the son of Rick and Kay Warren who must be facing the most painful moment in their lives. There is no pain more gut-wrenching than losing a child. My heart and prayers go out to them at this most difficult time.

““No words can express the anguished grief we feel right now,” Warren wrote in a letter to his congregation.

A long time ago, I too lost a son and I found hope and courage in Rick Warren’s The Purpose-driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? . The book inspired me to move beyond the pain of losing a son and work on my new normal. Because the book talks about starting a service, I initiated the The Compassionate Friends Philippines Chapter with the help of Cathy Babao and Alma Miclat.

I can’t be there to hug Rick and Kay Warren for their loss and thanking them too for giving me the courage to live this new normal after the death of my son. What I can do is to continue on with my advocacy on suicide prevention and grief education such as ways to comfort the bereaved.

In most of my meetings with the bereaved, a common complaint is the insensitivity of concerned friends or relatives. I see it also in some of the insensitive tweets addressed to Rick Warren questioning the circumstances of his death. Some may not know what to say and blurt out the wrong words.

I have had my own share. I know the depth of concern they have towards us but in their enthusiasm, they blurt out the most insensitive remarks. Newly bereaved are very sensitive to these remarks.

Many parents feel they were being unjustly judged and criticized by those who could not possibly understand because they have not experienced the loss of a child. Compassionate Friends USA shares the proper response.

Our wonderful, concerned, well-meaning friends don’t know. They can only imagine how the newly bereaved feel. They haven’t personally known (thank God) the disbelief, the shock, the anger of losing a child or any loved one. Instead of bringing relief, those words just seem to add to the hurt and the grief. There are no words that will make it all right that someone we loved has died. But there are ways that can soothe the hurt, ease the loneliness and add to the healing. Recently, my sister visited The Compassionate Friends to get tips on how to comfort a family whose daughter died of suicide.

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I’d like to share some of the ways to comfort the bereaved:

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