There many books about grieving and they have not helped me, although they may help others because again, it is personal.
All of my immediate family, all aunts and uncles and most of my other cousins are dead. I have lost count of the many friends, including very close friends that I loved more than my family who are gone. So, I am very familiar with my grieving process but still have no way of knowing what would be helpful to others.
In addition to my personal experience with grieving, I have had many classes and courses on the subject in college, and in my ministerial education. Guess what – I still do not have any answers.
Part of the issue is that people who are grieving (including me) do not really know what they want either. All most of us know for sure is we want to be free of the pain and do not know what will bring us relief – short of having the person back in our lives.
We try a lot of different things and nothing really works, except time – lots and lots of time. For some losses, the time is eternal and we can only hope for less pain. The memoires never cease to exist but for many they at least do not overwhelm us daily.
For some of us, talking to others also grieving for the same person might work – for others, it is not the best. Some completely shut down and shut off all feelings. Some just talk a lot. Some party and stay busy, busy, busy. Others seek professional help which I am in favor of. Seeing a therapist or attending a grief group can give the most comfort. Some draw closer to a Higher Power, while others completely discard the very notion of any Higher Source.
We try here, we try there, this person, that person and often it feels like we simply cannot find the “right” person who truly understands the depth of our pain.
We long to hear certain words of comfort but do not; although we know people want to help us, they don’t. Sometimes we even get angry at our friends because we think they are saying or doing the “wrong” things but there is no wrong. The hardest source for comfort may be from others who are grieving the same person. Seriously, how do you help someone else who is also in pain? However, that might be the perfect help for others.
We are mostly alone with our feelings even when we are with others, like family and friends, who are grieving the same person.
The most important helpful thing I have found for myself, is to have NO expectation on the comfort I wish to receive from another.
At the end of the day, it is still personal and private. As I lay my head on my pillow, I am alone – just me, my head, and my heart.