Relational Advice on Death

Relational Advice on Death

How do you comfort someone facing the death of a loved one? How do you comfort a loved one who is dying? Important tasks, with little training in the real world.

Jimmy Vecere, a bartender at 12th Street Irish Pub in Philadelphia, offers advice on comforting someone facing a loss. Listen, and then talk. Even just offering your thoughts is powerful. So often we say nothing, because we are afraid of saying the wrong thing. Simple honesty is the best. “I’m so sorry.” “I don’t know what to say.” “I’m praying for you.” “This sucks.”

If someone you love is dying, meet her where she is. If she’s in denial, allow it. If she’s being starkly honest, allow it. This is Maggie Callanan‘s advice. To be with someone who is dying requires strength, because it is all about him or her, not about you. You must set aside your agenda, your worries and fears, your pains, and be with that person exactly where s/he is. This is not a task that everyone can complete.

Today is November 1st, or All Saints Day. Tomorrow will be All Souls Day. These are two liturgical holidays which remember and honor the dead. It is appropriate to start off our holiday season with a moment to remember those we have loved. Take some time today to consider and remember. Make space in your life for grief and sorrow, no matter how fresh or old. They are important, just as important as feasting and joy.

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