I recently spent a few hours with a wonderful group at a small office. A senior and beloved colleague had just died, and they asked me to come facilitate a conversation. I have done similar things in the past and always find it very moving and both different and similar from my daily routine. As I said to them towards the end of our time together, I generally hear from the ill person who talks about the relationships and situation at the office. Hearing from work colleagues is the opposite perspective, and it was clear what a gift they gave him through his illness with their support, affection, and respect.
Grief comes in multiple flavors, and there are no "shoulds" or rules. This essay by Jane Brody from The New York Times describes a couple of recent books which look excellent. Might be something to remember for yourself or friends in the future. We have come a long away from Kubler Ross's stages. (although she deserves endless thanks for starting the conversation about a previously taboo topic)
Although many of us are able to speak frankly about death, we still have a lot to learn about dealing wisely with its aftermath: grief, the natural reaction to loss of a loved one.
Relatively few of us know what to say or do that can be truly helpful to a relative, friend or acquaintance who is
grieving. In fact, relatively few who have suffered a painful loss know how to be most helpful to themselves.
Two new books by psychotherapists who have worked extensively in the field of loss and grief are replete with stories and guidance that can help both those in mourning and the people they encounter avoid many of the common pitfalls and misunderstandings associated with grief. Both books attempt to correct false assumptions about how and how long grief might be experienced.
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