As a noteworthy speaker and author, Sheryl is interviewed all the time, but she mentioned that no one ever asks her about her husband during an interview.
During this episode, Kristen and Monica made a point of doing so, and it led to a rich discussion about the importance of acknowledging grief directly.
Sheryl shared that many people do not know how to respond when someone close to them loses a loved one. Often, people say the wrong thing, or even worse, they say nothing at all.
She offered a few suggestions on better responses to offer in this situation, such as:
- “What do you not want on your burger because I’m coming over.”
- “I know today is five years since you lost your daughter. In case you want some company, I’m free.”
- “I’m coming over at 3 pm tomorrow to drop off a meal and pick up your laundry.”
- “I’m usually up early or late if you need anything.”
- “One of my favorite memories of your mom is when she…”
As therapists, most of us have no trouble talking about grief and loss in the therapy office. It’s expected that we would openly discuss a deep loss with our clients.
However, I notice that I struggle to address grief directly when it occurs among my friends and family, particularly those I’m not as close to.
Sheryl points out in the podcast that people need more than just their closest three friends to make it through grief. She also states the grief doesn’t magically disappear after three months. Instead, it’s a long journey with particular challenges on the anniversary of the death and other significant holidays.
Sheryl’s words inspired me to be more intentional about reaching out to those in my life who have experienced significant loss and using some of her suggestions to get me started.
I know many of you specialize in grief or loss – I’d love to hear your thoughts as experts in this space if you have anything you’d like to share.
Or, if you’ve lost a loved one you’d like to tell me about – I’d love to remember him or her with you. Feel free to reply here and tell me about them.