She May Feel Broken but She’s Still a Woman of Worth!
Describing the impact of a loss may be commonly expressed with words like pain, intense sadness, or brokenness. But coping with grief and loss is unique for every person.
Gender differences can influence how we grief, as can culture, upbringing and personality. As Women’s History Month draws to a close, let’s focus on women who are grieving and how we can help them.
How to Express W.O.R.T.H. to a Grieving Woman?
Most women tend to be natural nurturers and caregivers. They love to create an emotional connection with others. They are expressive and more open to sharing their feelings. When in grief, they are likely to do the active work of dealing with their loss.
To help a grieving woman you know, you need to be:
Willing. Be willing to listen to her story. She may tell it more than once and even longer after the first few times. But each time she does, she is releasing the burdens of hurt that weigh her down. Be willing to help her process her emotions and thoughts. She needs to be heard and come to terms with her feelings. Spend quality time with her. Sometimes, you just need to be there for her without any words.
Open-hearted. Be the one who reaches out to her. Check how she is and ask her what you can do to comfort her. Allow her to express what she exactly needs at the moment. She may ask you to accompany her at home or drive for her to go to a relaxing place. She may ask you to bring her favorite dessert. If she really doesn’t know what she needs, offer something–without expectation and see how she responds. What most women need most in difficult times like these are people who are open-hearted, appreciative of her journey and allowing her to set her own pace.
Respectful. Be respectful of her unique ways to cope with grief. There are days when she just needs to cry. No words, just tears. This is totally okay. Some days, she just wanted to take a time off. But since grief has the tendency to put people in isolation, please remain at her arm’s length. Keep on observing her and make sure that she’s eating well and getting enough sleep. The feeling of emptiness brought by a loss silently demands genuine love and care.
Tactful. Be tactful when you express your words. Be more empathic when you are having a conversation with her. Learn to speak the right words at the right time. Avoid expressions that would create confusion with her current feelings, such as:
Don’t feel bad, your loved one is in a better place now.
Just give yourself time. You will heal eventually.
Be strong, others are counting on you.
Keep yourself busy to help you forget this pain.
These statements may be said in a sincere manner, but the truth is, they are all not helpful. These expressions are going against her need to feel the pain and live with grief and loss. To help her grief, grieve with her as well. Share with her any memories of her loved one that you may have had. Share with her what you feel and most importantly, let her know that you are there to support her.
Hopeful. Be the agent of hope. Grief is an inevitable part of life. This is not only experienced when a loved one is lost. We experience grief because someone or something we love and highly value is no longer a part of us. Grief can make someone feel like being robbed of a dream. It can make someone’s vision blurry and thus, leading to feelings of hopelessness. Be the person who inspires her to live forward with new positive discoveries she unconsciously unpacks her grief. Help her see hope again when she’s ready.
Grief is too personal and cannot be generalized. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve. Learning and respecting our differences can help us support each other towards healing.
Always keep in mind that a grieving woman is transitioning to something new. There’s a new treasure in her that will soon break forth. A grieving woman is a woman in healing. She may have a loss but she remains as a Woman of Worth!