Barbara, How do I deal with people that aren't compassionate with the death of a loved one.

We all grieve in our own way. What we feel on the inside is not necessarily reflected in our actions and words. What people see on the outside may not be what the person is experiencing, thinking, or feeling. Our world is called the “world of illusion” for good reason. We can say one thing and think a different thing. I can tell you how lovely I think your dress is and think to myself that it is the ugliest dress I have ever seen. What we think and what we say doesn’t necessarily match---illusion.

First, let’s not judge a person’s grief by their words or actions. We don’t really know what is going on inside this person. Second, grief is manifested in many ways--anger and depression being two of them. Sometimes grief comes on an intellectual level and we try to bypass the emotional level (although the emotions will come out somewhere). We sometimes deny our grief (that too will manifest somewhere, sometime). We grieve according to our personality. My personality might dictate that I not show anger, yours that you are enraged. Our personality will manifest itself in our grieving.

So --how do we deal with this “non-compassionate” person? We try to support them as they are. Be a presence if they will allow you to be with them. It isn’t what you say, there aren’t any words that can make a person feel better. It is your being available and supportive. Supportive doesn’t mean agreeing with. It just means listening and saying “I hear you.”

Something more about compassion...

If there is a way to lend your copy of MY FRIEND, I CARE, my grief book, to someone who is "non-compassionate", you may find that it opens them to tenderness. They may have unresolved grief that it could help with.

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