Helping Others

How To Help Me In My Grief

  • Speak to me of the obvious. I feel less alone when I know others remember.
  • I need your warm caring more than "right words". Just saying "I'm thinking of you", or "I'm here", writing a note, a phone call, or a hand on my shoulder.
  • I know my sadness will last longer than either you or I want it to.
  • Please let go of trying to fix my pain.
  • Share your stories and memories.
  • Offer to help with daily practical things.
  • Please remember that we all grieve in our own way.
  • If you are worried about how I'm doing, it's okay to talk to me directly.
  • Mostly, thank you for your love and support. Stay near until I can see the light again.
  • Marilyn Gryte, Grief Digest Magazine, Jan.2006


  • Cliches are rarely helpful;
  • Avoid saying "I know just how you feel" and divert to your own story. That diminishes them, and none of us truly know exactly how they feel.
  • Do bring up the name of the person that died. Grievers often welcome this and have strong fears their loved ones will be forgotten.
  • Refrain from saying "everything happens for a reason"...
  • Avoid giving advice or trying to "fix"- if they want it, they will ask for it.
  • Educate yourself as much as possible about the grieving process to be knowledgeable about the factors that play a role in how a person grieves.
  • Be aware that grief is work- it will be one of the hardest jobs ever done - be patient with your friend or family member!
  • Invite them to share stories about their loved one, and offer your own story about what kind of "imprint" the person also had on you...


Jill FitzGerald, LCSW, recommends the following resources:

Agencies & Organizations

  • ComfortZone Camp -
  • Full Circle Grief Center -
  • AFSP-American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  • NAGC-National Alliance For Grieving Children
  • RESOLVE - National organization supporting couples experiencing infertility
  • ADEC- Interdisciplinary professional organization in the field of death/dying & bereavement


Book Recommendations:

  • Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief by David Kessler
  • Resilient Grieving: Finding Strength & Embracing Life After a Loss... by Lucy Hone PhD
  • It's OK That You're Not OK by Megan Devine
  • Angel Catcher- grief journal by A. Eldon
  • Beyond Tears: Living After Losing a Child by Ellen Mitchell
  • When The Bough Breaks by Judith Bernstein, Ph.
  • Healing A Parents Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas by A. Wolfelt
  • Bearing The Unbearable: Love, Loss, and The Heartbreaking Path of Grief by Joanne Cacciatore
  • I Wasn't Ready To Say Good-bye by Brook Noel & Pamela Blair
  • A Time to Grieve by Carol Staudacher
  • Healing a Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas by Alan Wolfelt
  • Healing A Friend's Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas for Helping Someone You Love by Alan Wolfelt PhD
  • Healing a Traumatized Heart: 100 Practical Ideas After Someone You Love Dies a Sudden/Violent Death
  • Understanding Your Grief by Alan Wolfelt
  • Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations For Working Through Grief by Barbara Hickman
  • Mindful Grieving by Sameet Kumar PhD
  • How To Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies by Therese Rando Ph.D.
  • Fatherless Women: How We Change After We Lose Our Dads by Clea Simon
  • Surviving the Death of a Sibling by TJ Wray
  • Do They Have Bad Days in Heaven? Surviving the Suicide Loss of a Sibling by Michelle Linn-Gust
  • After a Parent's Suicide: Helping Children Heal by Margo Requarth, M.A.
  • You Are Not Alone (Teen Grief) by Lynne Hughes
  • The Four Things That Matter Most by Ira Byock, M.D
  • Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (Excellent book for ages 12+ dealing with anticipatory grief)
  • The Infertility Survival Guide by Judith Daniluk
  • What Doesn't Kill Us: The New Psychology Of Posttraumatic Growth By Stephen Joseph

Note: Jill FitzGerald, LCSW, does not accept responsibility for any content viewed by clicking an external link. These links are provided as a public service. Jill FitzGerald, LCSW, cannot personally endorse the content of these sites.

Jill FitzGerald, LCSW

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