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  • February 10, 2016, 05:11:47 AM

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Author Topic: Question about the circles of grieving.  (Read 1164 times)

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afbluebelle

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Question about the circles of grieving.
« on: January 17, 2016, 09:10:39 PM »
How does that work? A good friend of mine is losing his mom, and I'm just trying to be a good friend and not be a foolish donkey. I don't want to bug him half to death, but he has made it clear that he appreciates the support.

All my home raising prepared me for is making copious amounts of food in times of grief. Maybe I should start on some casseroles :-[
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#borecore

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Re: Question about the circles of grieving.
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2016, 09:39:34 PM »
I think the main thing about "circles of grief" is not passing any grief or anxiety or burdens "in" -- that is, toward the center of the circle. It's being conscientious about where you lie (in your case, it sounds like there's a mom at the center of the ring, then her immediate family, then probably those close to her who aren't family, then acquaintances of the ailing person, and then friends of those on the inner rings, very roughly speaking).

So, as a person on the outer ring, what can you do?

You should listen, and try to understand your friend's needs. If his needs are food, then you provide food, if you can, and if he seems to just need a listening ear, listen. Ask what he needs, but be understanding if he says he doesn't need a thing (but also, weirdly, understanding of the fact that not saying anything is sometimes an indicator of great/aimless need).

I'm sorry you and your friend, and his mother, are going through this.

Mel the Redcap

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Re: Question about the circles of grieving.
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2016, 01:19:37 AM »
Support goes in - so you can say "Hey, how are you doing?" "Is there anything you need?" "I made these casseroles, they freeze well if you don't want to eat them right away," and so on. (Lovely idea, by the way!)

Griping goes out - so you can provide a shoulder and a sympathetic ear if he needs it, but you shouldn't expect him to reciprocate right now. "I'm going to miss her too" is fine, but "Oh she was such a good friend to me I am devastated how am I ever going to cope without her~!" is not. (Not that I think you were going to do that, but some posters here have had to deal with that sort of thing - I think someone was at her father's funeral when one of his friends told her that she couldn't possibly understand his pain at the loss?)
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o_gal

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Re: Question about the circles of grieving.
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2016, 06:44:01 AM »
You should listen, and try to understand your friend's needs. If his needs are food, then you provide food, if you can, and if he seems to just need a listening ear, listen. Ask what he needs, but be understanding if he says he doesn't need a thing (but also, weirdly, understanding of the fact that not saying anything is sometimes an indicator of great/aimless need).

Also ask those who are closer to him what he might need. He might not even realize that he needs something because he is so overburdened with the situation, but his friends might be able to point something out.

jpcher

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Re: Question about the circles of grieving.
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2016, 06:38:38 PM »
This is where I first found about the ring theory, and received a lot of good advice. Hopefully some comments here will help you.

http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=134267.0

there are two links on the first page that explain the circle/ring theory:

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/apr/07/opinion/la-oe-0407-silk-ring-theory-20130407

and

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-0407-silk-ring-theory-20130407-story.html

granted, they both say pretty much the same thing . . . and my friend was the center of the ring, but put your friends mom in the center ring, friend in the second ring and figure out where you stand from there.

I found out that it was rather difficult to stay in the outer ring, but at the same time lending support to those inside helped them to be stronger supporters as the ring grew smaller.


"he has made it clear that he appreciates the support."

tells me that you are on one of the inner rings (maybe 3rd one out?) and casseroles or a coffee/drink night out just to let him vent would be a great kindness on your part.


Hope this helps, and PPers have given you great advice.


afbluebelle

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Re: Question about the circles of grieving.
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2016, 08:34:32 PM »
Thank you very much... And I'm rather embarrassed to admit that I didn't think to look fo rthe previous thread or article :-[
My inner (r-word) is having a field day with this one.
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AfleetAlex

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Re: Question about the circles of grieving.
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2016, 03:21:37 PM »
When my aunt was dying (very small family, she was like a second mother to me) my awesome friends let me know that they were always available if and when I wanted to talk, even though sometimes I didn't know if I wanted to or not! That helped me be there for the people in the inner ring, like my mom and my cousins, because I had a place to go if I needed it to get things off my chest. They really didn't have to do more than listen and be supportive, and that was perfect.
I have a chronic case of foot-in-mouth disease.

jpcher

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Re: Question about the circles of grieving.
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2016, 05:50:51 PM »
Thank you very much... And I'm rather embarrassed to admit that I didn't think to look fo rthe previous thread or article :-[


Ach! Please don't be embarrassed! . . . this is something that is near and dear to you. Something that you've never been through before and you quite wisely asked how not to be a foolish donkey.

Please keep us in the loop if you have any additional questions or thoughts . . . just because I provided a previous thread doesn't mean that your situation is the same as mine was.


But for now it sounds like you'll be doing some awesome casserole cooking along with having a soft shoulder and a kind ear to offer . . . If he doesn't want to talk about it? Gently suggest a quiet night at the pool hall for a bit of game/stress relief, or some such thing. Take your cues from your friend and roll with the flow. Let him lead your actions.



(HUGS) this is never easy.

Winterlight

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Re: Question about the circles of grieving.
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2016, 10:39:08 PM »
The short version is "Support in, cry out." When my mom died, I didn't sob all over my dad, because he was in no shape to deal with it as he was in the same immediate family ring.* I cried to friends when I needed to.

*Immediate family in this case also included my aunt (mom's sister) who came up to help out. Wonderful woman.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
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