Support Staff - part 2


The other day I ran down a list of don’ts for support staff. Now let’s talk the do’s. Whether you are a day or two supporter or a long hauler the standards remain the same. Think before you say or do and you will most likely be successful in your roll as support staff.


DO’S:


Hug me. Even if the person grieving says they are not a hugger, odds are it is still something they need. Everyone needs physical contact from another caring human being. I went from having the love of a hug everyday to isolation of daily life without Mike. I asked everyone I knew to hug me every chance they got!!


Be patient with me. I am not myself nor can I think clearly. I may seem unreasonable at times or extremely moody, wouldn’t you be?? If I am short with you please don’t take it personally, life is very frustrating for me right now. As a member of my support team I will rely on you to love me no matter how I react to you. We tend to take our frustrations out on the ones we love the most because we know you will be forgiving.


Ask me how I am. I know this is on the list of don’ts too but if you truly care and are prepared to hear the cold hard truth then it’s good to ask me how I really am. You know me well enough to know if I am giving you lip service or if I am being honest.


Check in with me often, preferably in person. A quick text is fine but how much emotion can you really get from a text? If that’s all you have time for today it’s okay. A phone call is better, you can hear in my voice what state of mind I am in. The best solution is to come see me in person. I will probably tell you that’s not necessary, that I am fine. If you are a close friend you can ignore me and come anyway, in fact I will probably be very grateful. If you want to call me and tell me you are coming, that’s good too. Notice I didn’t say to call and ASK if you can come. Sometimes it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.


Invite me to go places. Don’t be surprised or offended if I tell you no for a while but right now I need to be needed. I need to know that people want me around even though I am sad. I need to know that people want me around even if I am not my usual happy self. I needed people to invite me to gatherings they would have invited US to before. I am no longer an US which is why it is so important that my support staff still needs me.


Make me do something. Get me out of the house. I won’t want to be in public for a while, but we could do a drive thru and have lunch in a park. Pack a picnic and sit by a lake. Drive me to your house of he house of a friend to sit on the deck and drink wine (bring tissues, alcohol can bring out the ugliest side of my grief). Anything to get me out of the house for a bit. Fresh air can help clear the fog even if it’s temporary.


Make sure I am eating, bathing and taking care of myself physically. These may seem like simple tasks but to me these things really don’t matter. My life is a mess right now so my physical appearance is low on my list of priorities. Bring me a favorite meal and enjoy it with me. I love to cook but cooking for someone is a way of expressing my love for them. When that person is no longer here there’s no joy it. Cooking for just myself was a reminder that I am now a party of one.


Encourage me to talk then let me speak. I know your instinct is to tell me not to be sad and not to cry but I need to express my grief. I need talk about my person and what I am feeling. It’s not easy hearing how broken I am but being able to express it to someone is a necessary part of my process.


Encourage me to find support. You may be the best friend a person could have but you may not be equipped to deal with my grief. It is always a good idea to seek out the support of people who have walked in shoes similar to my own. It can be a support group of others grieving or it could be a professional therapist. You know me well, you can tell if I am spiraling downward. Don’t be afraid to tell me I need help. My proud self may not do anything with the offer, you may need to push me a little but it may be the one thing that will save me from myself.

I will probably not ask you for help, I don’t know how to ask and even if I did I wouldn’t. I don’t want to be a bother to anyone. I want to be the strong capable person I was before grief invaded my life. I am honestly usure how to be either of those things but I am going to try.


Do things for me. Again, I won’t ask but I do need help with a lot of things. Please feel free to just DO things you think might help. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, small things are as important.


I need something to do that will keep me from thinking too much, something to get my mind off of my grief for a period of time. I had a friend who brought me some adult coloring books and some crayons. At first I thought this was an odd gift but it actually worked to occupy my mind for short periods of time, gave me a little relief. Be creative and find something you can off that will occupy my brain for a bit.


Give me time. Time is the only friend I have right now. The passing of time will soften things and make this grief more tolerable. Let me have as much time as I need, I am doing this the only way I know how and with your help I will come out the other side reasonably intact. I can’t tell you when that will happen but I am hopeful it will.






27 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

I posed the question the other day “Ever have one of those days you simply need a good cry?”. Admit it or not, everyone has them and when you are grieving, they come more often. So why not just own it

Thanksgiving is a time of giving thanks for what we have, for being grateful for the people we have in our lives. It is a time to count our blessings…. Not an easy thing to do when you are grieving. T

I have talked about “firsts” in previous posts, about how most people believe these “firsts” are confined to the things you must endure in the first year after losing a loved one. I know I explained t