Healing Begins by Offering to LISTEN

The word "listen" contains the same letters as the word "silent." - Alfred Brendel

It’s been two months since I held my beloved Merlin, the Cairn Terrier, as he was euthanized in my arms. Naturally, my husband and I grieved deeply over the loss of a member of our family.

Merlin Emrys Simone 11/11/2000 - 6/30/2014

I am still moving through this experience, knowing the Love I feel in my heart will forever be present as the memory of the past
13 1/2 years lives within me.

What I found a bit surprising was how many of the people around me, who were also dog-lovers, did not know how to respond to my grief. Since I have been working and studying all aspects of grief for over five years now, I sincerely thought that, generally, people understood how to support a grieving friend. So, I was shocked, when I realized that people wanted to "avoid me" because I was not acting "the same" ! I have now come to the realization that this was because they were unsure of how to support me, especially if I was sad or depressed, or worst of all, "sobbing."

Then, a friend, who volunteers on the child bereavement team and is a member of the Kids' Grief Relief board sent me an email, offering a visit, saying she would come and sit with me and listen to my story about Merlin, as often as I needed to tell it.

And that’s exactly what I needed.

Believe it or not, I didn’t call her, because it was simply her act of offering that made all the difference for me. I felt better, knowing that someone understood what I needed.

My friends have welcomed me back to the "happy" world, and I bear no negativity toward them. I understand the "unchartered territory" that grief presents to all of us. Yet, this situation has reinforced the importance of children telling their grief stories to adults and other compassionate children without judgment.

This idea is a major Activity in all Kids’ Grief Relief programs. Their "story" must be told over and over, until it no longer needs to be told.


And only the one telling the story knows when that is.


Use these blogs to open up a healing dialogue
with anyone experiencing grief.


( To download a pdf of the above blog, click here. )


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