It is Okay to Ask for Help?


The title of this post may sound a bit strange, but in reality, many bereaved are afraid to ask for help because they don’t want to be a burden. There are still others who feel they can grieve on their own because everyone has told them they are strong and will “get over this.” Really?

William Shakespeare said, “Everyone can master a grief but he that has it.” William Shakespeare was right on target. Because people who have not experienced a death, have no idea the pain involved in losing someone dear to them. It is also very uncomfortable for those who have never experienced a loss to see their friend or colleague going through this “new normal” that the bereaved are experiencing. I think many of the non-bereaved, in their own way, want to help but are unsure what to say or do and often come out with hurtful words for their family member, friend, or colleague.

So, why do the bereaved need support to help them get through their loss? It is very important for the bereaved to feel free to talk with someone they trust and share their feelings and their story without having someone telling them to “Move on,” “Get over it,” or “I liked you the way you used to be when you were happy and smiling, not crying all the time. What is wrong with you?”

In the telling of your story, your healing takes place. In other words, when we bury our thoughts and feelings so deep inside us that we are afraid to reach out to someone or even a grief group, our healing seems to take much longer to get through.

It is very important to feel what you feel and allow others to reach out to you as you reach out to them. For example, if your children see you crying and try to comfort you and you tell them you are fine or okay, they may be afraid to cry in front of you or show you their feelings and keep them inside because they don’t want to upset you. Allowing others to see you cry gives them permission to comfort you or even cry with you and not be afraid that you will be upset by their tears.

Some people feel if they cry, they are weak—not true. When you allow yourself to love someone, you risk the chance of crying. Crying is just another form of love for your deceased loved one. 

When we experience a loss, we lose all control. It is time to take some of that control back and tell people what you want from them. Sometimes a listening ear or shoulder to cry on is needed, and sometimes a hug is in order. If you don’t tell people what you need from them, they don’t know how to respond to you, and they go away very confused. 

If someone invites you out for lunch and you really don’t want to go, take that “control back” and tell them you are having a rough day, and perhaps another day might work, that way you are not pushing them away, yet they know how you are actually feeling. Please don’t go because you don’t want to upset them. Remember, this is about you and not them. So be honest and tell them the truth, rather than going out for lunch and both of you being miserable.

It is also important to remember that grief takes as long as it takes. There is no time limit. Everyone grieves differently, so don’t put expectations on yourself to move on. There are plenty of others who will do that for you. 

Often people question their faith and stop going to church or blame God for their loss. This is really not unusual. However, it might be a good idea to reach out to the clergy or someone you feel comfortable with to talk about how you are feeling. It is nothing to be ashamed of. It is often a normal reaction to a death. Please do not beat yourself up and feel something is wrong; this is simply grief trying to take over. Remember, grief can affect you physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. 

When someone is grieving, they often are unable to focus or think, often feel a deep sadness, are very fatigued, have aches and pains in their body, lose friends, feel guilty or angry, have trouble eating or sleeping, have no motivation to do anything and have doubts about their faith. These are normal responses to loss and grief. It doesn’t mean someone is grieving wrong if they feel any of these things. It is just what grief can do to us when a loved one dies. 

This is why it is so important to have some kind of support when grieving, so you are not alone but rather know you have the support of others to help you get through this difficult time in your life. Remember, there is no right way or wrong way to grieve, only the way that works for you. If it isn’t working, you need to think about what helped you in the past when you were having a difficult time. Perhaps following that path or reaching out to a grief group, grief therapist, or close trusted friend who will listen and not give you unsolicited advice is the path to follow.

It is also very important to reach out to your doctor and have a checkup several months after a death just to see how you are doing. But be sure to tell them you have experienced a death, and that is why you are feeling the way you are at this time. If you need medication, Please be aware that they do not give you too much medication that you cannot function at all.

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In conclusion: Blessings to all of you. Please take care of yourself and let others in to help support you and walk with you as you navigate through your loss.

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