Friday, February 21, 2014

Grief and Health: The Healing Powers of Condolence

Grieving puts people under tremendous stress. 

Initially-- after the death of a loved one, there are so many things to do: 
  • funeral planning and the functions surrounding one
  • non-stop phone calls, made and taken
  • packing and vacating a care facility where the deceased spent their final weeks
  • writing checks... and then writing more checks
  • and many, many more tasks

Acknowledge this in your note, and step up with help, if possible.

Grieving is exhausting.

"When this is over, I am going to collapse somewhere." 

If I had a dime for every time this was said... There is a remarkable parallel between the vigilance of family surrounding a dying person, and the attention paid to an orderly and respectful disposition of the loved one's body and worldly possessions.
  • at the mercy of life forces and their mystery, there is no rushing--even advance directives follow a process
  • if bedside shifts are assigned, there is usually one person serving as advocate and guardian
  • being lovingly in charge requires a person to stand on slippery rocks against the unceasing waves of situation

 Again, acknowledge this in your note. 

Yes, condolence has healing powers.

  • There is scientific proof that feeling sincerely cared for, has an immediate impact on our health.  Blood pressure and heart rate lower, calming hormones are released.
  • Writing a condolence note is an act of compassion, and its healing powers touch the writer, too! 
  • A well-written, hold-it-in-your-hand condolence note will be read many times, and with each reading, a healing moment is experienced!
Thank you for caring.

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