Grief Takes Turns


Helping Others Who Grieve

Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow, too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?
---William Blake

This entire section focuses on reaching out and helping others who grieve.

December may be the "most wonderful time of the year" but it can also be the most painful for those who grieve. The Gift of Love considers ways to help your grieving friend during the holiday season. 

Children do not grieve the same as adults. December's Child briefly looks at the developmental needs of children and offers ways to support a grieving child during the holiday season.

Older adults experience multiple losses over a lifetime. They may also have several losses that occur in rapid succession, such as the death of a spouse, family member or cherished pet, failing health and the ensuing loss of independence. In other words, seniors absorb "layers of loss." Read Grief Support for Older Adults for ways to help the aging griever. 

Compassion: The Inner Light

The root word of compassion is the Latin cum patior meaning to suffer with or to be passionate for someone else’s well-being.(1) Compassion is more than the simple act of caring. It leads us to go where it hurts, to enter places of pain and to share in brokenness, fear and confusion. Compassion means full immersion in the human condition including sorrow and loss.

Compassion is sometimes regarded as a type of sentimental pity towards those less fortunate: the sick, the poor, or the mentally ill. This kind of thinking taints compassion with the sour odor of superiority. Such pity is condescension and is applied to emphasize the differences between us. To discover for yourself if you engage in pity or compassion, ask this question: When I help another, do I feel superior or humble?

Compassion is not a mere quiet sympathy with others because compassion always requires action. We no longer offer help because we are supposed to, or give aid with the expectation of getting something in return. We do not reach out to another soul in pain because it shows how "evolved" we are, but because it is the compassionate thing to do.

Compassion is located in the heart, the place of our healing. The more hurts we have encountered, the more potential we have to be compassionate. As we seek to embrace the meaning of our own pain, we discover a healing light and open up to the suffering around us. We begin to understand people and events in a new way. Difficult situations no longer baffle us. This new understanding of how to help others allows us to reveal our compassion--the outward expression of our inner light.


1. Webster’s II New Collegiate Dictionary, Margery S. Berube, Editor. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001, page 228.

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Grief has no timetable, but the launch of a new website does: August 1, 2019.                                                                     
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A Word About E-mail: One way to decrease SPAM caused by Internet bots is to deactivate the live address link. You can still contact me by typing this address into your own e-mail program using @, a period, and no spaces, the standard e-mail format. Thank you.

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How complicated and individual mending is,
the time required for healing
cannot be measured against any fixed calendar
Mary Jane Moffat
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