Death, Dying, Illness & Grief Support
“My friend who I hadn’t talked to in 5 years died and I feel like I had more to say to him.” – 19 year old
Grief happens when we experience a loss. It might be a loss because of a death, but we can also experience grief over other kinds of loss.
- The loss of health when illness strikes yourself or a loved one.
- The loss of our family as we know it when a divorce happens.
- The loss of a home to fire, the loss of a good friend who moves far away.
Grieving is not an easy thing to do. Most of the things we’re taught about grieving are just plain wrong. For example, time does not heal; waiting for the pain to go away doesn’t heal the pain. Although it’s normal to want to ignore or blot out feelings of pain, this is not what will heal us.
What heals the pain and feelings of loss is action. And one of the best actions you can take is to talk to someone who is non-judgmental and who won’t try to “fix” you.
Some ways to help a grieving friend
- Just listen. Try to be non-judgmental.
- If you don’t know what to say, just say “I’m sorry about your loss.”
- Don’t try to replace the loss. If your friend has lost a pet, a new one is probably not what they want right now. They need time to grieve the loss of the old pet.
- Be aware that holidays and anniversary dates are especially hard times for grievers. If it seems right, let them know you’re there for them at these times, too, not just during the time the loss occurred.
See also the section on Counseling. Most counseling centers offer grief support counseling.
626-397-3600I Count Too at Hospice of Pasadena
Support group for children and adolescents who have loved ones with life threatening illness. Group provides education about death, illness and treatment. Grief support.
310-337-7006Loved Ones Victim Services
FREE teen group meeting twice a month. Counseling for those who have experienced a family member’s or friend’s homicide. Group, individual and family counseling. Accompany to court.
West LA: 310-475-0299
Bereavement counseling for children, adolescents and adults.