What Can I Do?
This is the book I was recommending earlier. I have almost completely read the book cover to cover. it's entitled, What Can I Do? Ideas to Help Those Who Have Experienced Loss by Barbara A. Glanz.
This book is chock full of practical ideas but it also gets at some elements of grief that I have experienced and have not been able to put into words. So many times I've had to catch my breath reading some of the quotes in this book. It is a book that I wish I could get anyone who ever knew me or will ever know me to read. So a lot of it feels personal but it's a great tool to help others. I found it extremely accurate and helpful.
I particularly found the Foreword and Introduction particularly good. Let me give you a taste:
"Our society is not 'grief literate,' although we live in a time of tremendous loss. The aging of our population, news of terrorism, along with death and destruction from natural disasters necessitate that we learn the ways of grief-and of hope. Too often our instinct is to hold back, where we are most comfortable, fearing we'll say or do the wrong thing. The cliches we learn, such as 'she is in a better place' and 'time heals all wounds,' tend to upset rather than help those who are grieving.
Helping someone we love cope with a loss is an intuitive art. Most of us are never taught it, but it can be cultivated. Simply 'showing up' for others, providing meaningful support, and practicing compassion in the face of loss are crucial. The infinite ways we respond to a dear one's loss fill the pages of this warm and intelligent book.
So what can we do or say to bring understanding, compassion, and glimpse of hope to others? Barbara Glanz tells exactly how ot help someone we love survive a loss. The myriad of strategies, from gardening to selfless listening to cooking dinner, come directly from her life experiences...
We cannot gloss over or spiritually bypass grief any more than we can manufacture hope. These things come from courageously facing losses with strength and patience. Those who do emerge with a renewed sense of compassion, faith, love and acceptance of life-on its terms, not ours. Being a loving, quite, humble, accepting, healing presence may make the critical difference in a moment of suffering."
Out of the dozens of books I've read on grief and loss this is the one I would recommend for everyone.