WOMAN2WOMAN: Your role as a caregiver “shines” now

The time is now, when we focus on remembering  and honouring  family , friends and fellow countrymen who lost their lives during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The time is now, when we focus on remembering  and honouring  family , friends and fellow countrymen who lost their lives during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

It is a very difficult time for the whole country.
 As a woman at sometime you will quite likely provide care for a spouse, child, relative or friend during this time.

It is at this  time of the year  that your role as a caregiver stands out. The more you prepare yourself, the more helpful you are likely to be.

It can be tough to know what to say or do when someone you care about is grieving. It is common to feel helpless, awkward, or unsure.

You may be afraid of intruding, saying the wrong thing, or making the person feel even worse. Or maybe you feel there is  little you can do to make things better.

While you can not   take away the pain of the loss, you can  provide much-needed comfort and support. There are many ways to help a grieving friend or family member, starting with letting the person know you care.

The death of a loved one is one of life’s most difficult experiences.  Grief comes with many intense and frightening emotions, including depression, anger, and guilt.

Often, they feel isolated and alone in their grief. Having someone to lean on can help them through the grieving process.

Do not let discomfort prevent you from reaching out to someone who is grieving. Now, more than ever, your support is needed. You might not know exactly what to say or what to do, but that is okay.

You do not  need to have answers or give advice. The most important thing you can do for a grieving person is to simply be there. Your support and caring presence will help them cope with the pain and begin to heal.

According to psychologists, the better your understanding of grief and how it is healed, the better equipped you will  be to help a bereaved friend or family member. 

It is important for you to understand that grief does not unfold in orderly, predictable stages. It is an emotional roller coaster, with unpredictable highs, lows, and setbacks.

Everyone grieves differently, so avoid telling the bereaved what they “should” be feeling or doing.

Feelings of guilt, anger, despair, and fear are common. A grieving person may yell to the heavens, obsess about the death, lash out at loved ones, or cry for hours on end. The bereaved need reassurance that what they are  feeling is normal. Do not judge them or take their grief reactions personally.

It is  common for a grieving person to feel depressed, confused, disconnected from others, or like they are “ going crazy.” 

But if the bereaved person’s symptoms do not gradually start to fade – or they get worse with time – this may be a sign that normal grief has evolved into a more serious problem and such a person needs professional help from psychologists.

bernanamata@gmail.com 

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