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To help the grieving

Written by Rosa Colucci on .

The July 25 First Person column by Arthur Lubetz, "The Invisible Man," was a sad commentary on the abandonment of those grieving the death of loved ones.

I am a bereaved mother and member of The Compassionate Friends, a self-help/support group for parents, grandparents and siblings who are grieving the death of a child. Most of our members report the same silence from family, friends and co-workers. We know they want to "fix" our grief, but they don't know what to say or do so they just do nothing, which makes us feel even worse. Margaret Mead wrote, "When a couple marries, we jubilate; when a baby is born, we rejoice; but when a person dies we pretend that nothing happened."

There is no quick fix for grief. In fact, it cannot be fixed. But what friends and family can do is validate and honor the loss by listening, by being there. This is called the "gift of presence." As Mr. Lubetz says, "in our youth-oriented culture, death is the ultimate insult." Dr. Sherwin Nuland writes in his book "How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter": "Death is not a failure. One out of one dies. No one gets out of this life alive."

Grievers should never be invisible. "Grief is lightened when friends sorrow with us," wrote Aristotle.

 

LILLIAN L. MEYERS
Bethel Park

 

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