How so you help someone?


Founding Member
You help by offering advice on how you managed to get past the grief. We all do eventually get past the worst of the grief, at least to some degree. I'll give you the answer I found for myself when I lost my parents (about 5 years apart, back in the 1980s). And if it helps any other readers, well and good.

The key to beginning the healing process is to remember that your most recent memory of your loved one is also from a time when s/he was not at his/her best. The most recent memories are therefore rough - and yet because they are the freshest (therefore the strongest), they are the hardest to get past. Eventually, though, those most recent memories take lesser significance by being diluted with other memories that - relatively speaking - are beginning to blend together. At that moment you can start to look farther back to times when things were better, when you and your loved one were both stronger, better, healthier, happier. You can "crowd out" the bad memories with good memories. Perhaps a photo album, perhaps a small souvenir, ... who knows what will trigger those good memories? At that moment that you crowd out the most recent (and worst) memories, you can begin to smile at the "good times" memories.

This isn't all, though. At some moment you will be able to stop looking backwards all of the time and will realize that you have good times left to be lived. You can look forward again. And at that moment, you have begun the real healing. Because when you look back, you make yourself feel old. But when you look forward, you can begin to feel younger again. You never forget your loss. I know I haven't. But at least you don't have to dwell on the bad times or the past any more. You can let the future into your life again.

In my case, I put my life on hold for a little over 5 years after Dad died so I could take care of Mom. For another six months or so after she passed, it was drudgery trying to clean up the house, get rid of old clothes, and settle the estate. But I got a new job and went on a professional convention. At some time during that one week of work-related activities, I realized that I still had things to do, things to offer, things to say, things to see. That was my eye-opener. I would not suggest going on a convention for everyone for this specific purpose, but it is what turned my vision forward again. My friends said they saw it when I came back. My attitude had visibly changed. They even asked if I had hooked up with some "sweet young thing for a fling" but I was totally innocent in that regard. It was that I saw I had a life of my own again. And that is what it took for me.