Loss and Grief
All of us will lose someone important to us at some point in our lives — a friend, a parent, a spouse, a child. The grief that follows a loss can be overwhelming at times. We believe God does not want us to go through that alone, and is with us in our loss. At the Palo Alto Vineyard Church we offer resources and a grief support group for those who are suffering in this way. We also offer to pray with those who would be helped by that. Please contact the church office ( ) for more details.
Kara is a non-profit that offers multiple ways to support those preparing for the loss of a loved one, or for bereavement counseling. You can find out more, and contact local groups through their website.
A Grief Observed, by C. S. Lewis. This book by the famous Christian author describes his own journey of desperate loneliness and grief after his wife died.
Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide, by Kay Redfield Jamison - a book for discovering more about suicide and the stories behind the statistics.
Some tips for helping grieving friends from our grief group co-ordinator
Do keep in touch. Friends tend to disappear after a death, partly out of not knowing what to say. You don’t have to say anything other than “I’ve been thinking of you” or “Tell me how you’ve been.” Or send a card.
Do listen. One of the best things you can do is just listen. Let him or her tell the story, again and again. This retelling is a vital part of the grieving/recovery process.
Do let the person cry. Though it may feel uncomfortable to you when someone starts crying, don’t immediately offer comfort. Gestures of comfort (hugs, an arm around the shoulders, etc.) will often make the person feel like it’s not okay to cry, and crying is necessary in the grieving process. Feel free to “weep with those who weep.”
Do offer help weeks and months after the death. At the time of a funeral, many people offer help and support to the grieving person. But as the weeks and months pass people generally forget to follow up. Be the person who follows up. Instead of saying, “Let me know if I can help,” offer to help in practical ways: Can I bring you dinner one night this week? Can I clean your house? Can I babysit?
Do intervene if you get concerned about the person. For example, if he or she seems deeply depressed for a long period of time or talks about not wanting to live. Call the church
Avoid offering advice…unless he or she asks. Better to share what helped you during your own times of grief and loss/
Avoid “comforting” phrases…”She’s in a better place now.” “It was God’s will.” “God needed another angel.” “Time heals all wounds.” “I know just how you feel.” Etc.
Avoid assumptions about the length of the grieving process. Active grief may take 18-36 months and some level of grief and loss will always be a part of the person’s life.