February 26, 2021
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The Art of Comforting

March 24th, 2010 by judytalks

As a survivor and a writer about grief and loss issues, I’ve heard a lot of stories from other survivors, true stories of comfort and support. It made sense to me that the stories people remembered had to do with regular contact, good listening, and non-judgmental understanding.
The trauma of loss makes you feel insecure, inefficient, and bewildered. Forgetting simple, everyday things, retelling the story of your loss over and over, and bursting into tears is common. Many people find these actions difficult to handle. We haven’t been educated in the art of real comfort, and we don’t know how to respond. The pain and bewilderment of our friend, or neighbor, is distressing and we don’t know how to help.
In truth, it’s not that difficult. Just hang in there. You really can’t make someone feel better. You can’t solve their problems. You can only share in their grief, listen patiently, and plan a few outings to shoulder the burden of socializing. Sadness wants to be alone. Grievers need to get out into the world, with a good, reliable, supportive friend to lean on.
A couple of good comforters can work wonders with the healing process.
Brush up on your listening skills, practice patience, and make a list of pleasant, easy outings, just in case someone you care about loses someone she/he cares about. It’s not rocket science.

My best,
Judy

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