My father passed away last December. My sister teaches middle school and many of her students tried their best to offer comfort. One of the notes, from an 11-year-old boy said: “Dear Ms. Edelson. I’m sorry for your lost. (this is not a typo). I don’t know what to say to you, so I might not talk to you for a while.” Though she found this humorous, helping others through the grieving process is no laughing matter. This boy was so honest he captured the way that many adults feel and it resonated with me. Her student expressed the anxieties we often face surrounding how to help a friend through a loss. How many of us, eager to be there to offer support, nonetheless end up avoiding a friend when they lose a relative, concerned they’ll say the wrong thing? I seen it happen and found myself guilty. I put off calling a dear friend who last month lost her husband suddenly when he was only 50, afraid of confronting a friend wrenched in grief and despair. I’ve encountered these situations countless times and have tried relentlessly to sell a story to editors on the topic. But they’ve often shied away from it. Finally, Prevention Magazine’s editor agreed this was a worthy topic. The result is this piece that I wrote:
I found the advice from experts to be incredibly thoughtful and want to share it with you. Hopefully it will allow you to be helpful the next time a friend or relative is facing a loss.