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Free Speech Lesson

Dear Friend Letter from a Grieving Person

Dear Friend Letter from a Grieving Person

 found it.  I got it on May 23rd, the last and fourth night of my four week grief support group.  It’s a letter given to the 10 of us for sending to friends.  Why would grieving people need to send a letter to friends?  A letter to educate friends (and family!) about how to show care and concern.  Barbara, hospice counselor, says it’s because the American culture responds to death and grief so badly.   Other cultures, she says, do sooo much better.  They have rituals and expected behaviors to support the grieving person.


 Read this:


 Dear Friend,

     I have experienced a loss that is devastating to me.  It will take time, perhaps years, for me to work through the grief I am having because of this loss.

     Please be patient with me; I need to grieve in my own way and in my own time.  Please don’t take away my grief or try to fix my pain.  The best thing you can do is listen to me and let me cry on your shoulder.  I may cry more than usual for some time.  My tears are not a sign of weakness or a lack of hope or faith.  They are symbols of the depth of my loss and the sign that I am recovering.  Don’t be afraid to cry with me.  Your tears will tell me how much you care.

      I may become angry without there seeming to be a reason for it. My emotions are heightened by the stress of my grief.  Please be understanding if I seem irrational at times and forgive me if I seem insensitive to your problems.  I feel depleted and drained, like an empty vessel, with nothing left to give.

     Please let me express my feelings and talk about my memories.  I need your understanding and your presence more than anything else.  If you don’t know what to say, just touch me or give me a hug to let me know that you care.  Please understand why I must turn a deaf ear to criticism or tired clichés.  I can’t handle another person telling me that “time heals all wounds.”  Please don’t try to find the “right” words to say to me; there’s nothing you can say to take away the hurt.  Do feel free to share your own stories of my loved one with me.  I like to hear them.

     Please don’t push me to do things I’m not ready to do, or feel hurt if I seem withdrawn.  I need you more than ever during the next year.  Reach out to me.  Don’t wait for me to call you.  I am often too tired to even think of reaching out for help.  You might think you’re respecting my privacy, but to me it feels like abandonment.

     This loss is the worst thing that could happen to me.  But, I will get through it and I will live again.  I will not always feel as I do now, but please don’t expect me to be the same as I was before.  I’ve been through a devastating experience.  Please accept me for who I am today.

     Thank you for caring about me.  Your concern is a gift I will always treasure.


Connection and caring.  These are the heart and spirit of life.

Also, see our previous blog on How to Communicate With a Grieving Person. 

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