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Comforting Grieving Relatives?
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Spidey Offline
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Comforting Grieving Relatives?
I've become more and more alarmed in the past few months with my lack of empathy and general emotion towards others. This has easily been brushed off since most occurrences came from events that were completely psychological (think friend tearing up over a sentimental song attached to a loved one who recently died).

More recently, I have found that a very close relative of mine has cancer and is most likely going to die within the next few months. I want to be there for them and I want to help them. I have no problem going out of my way to go to the hospital just to sit and be there with them. But when my family gathers with tears in their eyes to talk about it, I just can't find that feeling. Maybe I've become too analytical and unforgiving of rampant emotions overtaking me. Maybe I just lost it.

A few years ago my family faced a pretty traumatic death. Another family member of mine told us how he feels numb after that and how nothing can shake him up anymore. I feel the same as him, but I don't feel that it's normal in my case (said deceased relative was more important to him than me).

Sorry to use this forum for ranting/tracking my mental process, but I haven't quite figured out the proper way to ask for advice in this situation. Mostly because I'm really not sure if I really need advice. All I know is that I'm lacking something that I used to have, because three years ago this would have been no problem for me.

In terms of the dying relative, I can only say that I will be there for them until the end. My feet are planted and I will stick around and spend as much time as possible with them. My concern is more on the rest of my family. I've lost my ability to comfort people. Whereas I used to be very good at this, all I can force is a sympathetic frown, then I stare off into space lost in my own thoughts that have almost no bearing on the situation at hand.

I need actionable advice on how to comfort grieving relatives. I don't want to be a shoulder to cry on, it makes me uncomfortable. It's a part of the process, I know, but it's not part of my process. I want to know what other ways I can be there, real ways that actually help my family.

My Questions:
How do I help someone who is crying besides just sitting there with a blank stare on my face?

Outside of volunteering to drive, how can I help my family? I'm thinking practical terms such as making dinners for everyone, mowing the lawn, etc.

Anything else that you can think of
05-02-2017 11:58 PM
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Peregrine Offline
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RE: Comforting Grieving Relatives?
05-03-2017 12:21 AM
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Araveug Offline
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RE: Comforting Grieving Relatives?
Hey Spidey, interesting question and situation - thanks for sharing.

As far as your specific questions:

1. Maybe you just being there is helpful? You said those feelz are not part of your process, so just be comfortable where you are. The concern could be that others' process does make you somewhat uncomfortable; is it possible you are, knowingly or unknowingly, avoiding processing this situation?

2. Making dinners and mowing lawn sound like great ideas. Those specifics are different family to family. Maybe you suck at cooking - break out your postmates app and have dinner delivered for everyone. I don't know all the details, but maybe start a meal train (http://www.mealtrain.com) for the direct family that is going through this loss - the extended family can all participate. Meal trains also create a deeper bond during times of turmoil, with both families eating together etc.

The fact that you are not weepy can be a god thing - you are the guy with his head on straight, who can actually think, plan and look out for people. Just having a can-do mindset in this context can make a big difference.

Sorry this is happening.
05-04-2017 06:00 PM
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