Dealing with Death

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

Copyright 1998

Your friend has chosen to call you in this time of need. S/He will probably need you there now, but before you go find out. . .

  1. Where is the friend? If she is not at home get a phone number and address and/or location.
  2. Is the friend is safe physically and mentally until you get there?
  3. If you know that this person is affiliated with a church group, contact the pastor/bishop, or his/her counterpart so s/he can give aid to the member of his/her congregation/ward.
On your way there you will probably wonder what you should say. You'll probably feel afraid because you don't know what to say. Everything you practice in your head seems trite and superficial. Remember you are in shock and fear of the unknown causes you brain not to work as well.

What You Should Do

  1. If you are comfortable in praying, say a prayer for the comforter to be with the Friend and loved ones. Ask for the Spirit to be with you, so you will know what to say and do for your friend.
  2. In most cases your friend will probably want to talk. Listen and comfort him/her.
  3. In other cases, the friend just needs you to be with him/her for moral support and comfort.
  4. There will probably be a time when you will be impressed to bear your testimony to the friend of God plan for us after we leave this world, even though you know that she knows it.
  5. Let the friend know that you are there for them any time they need you.
  6. Check in on you friend often to show you support and that you are there for them, not just in word but in deed.
  7. Pray with her/him.
Things You Should Know
  1. Your friend and her loved ones will be experiencing specific behaviors gone through by those who are experiencing death or dying. Many of these steps may be repeated, skipped, or may happen in any order. They are:
  2. The anguish and emotional upheaval from the death of a loved one takes at least one year to get one's public emotions under control.
  3. It takes an additional two to five years to get internal emotions under control to get through special anniversary dates like birth dates and holidays. It is hard to gain control while being constantly reminded of the deceased through special songs, smells, colors, clothing, places, history, and mutual friends. Don't expect the friend to get over the death easily.
  4. By the same token, if the friend is constantly depressed and preferring isolation, s/he needs psychological help from a psychologist or psychiatrist. Help him/her to get it.

Kubler-Ross, Elizabeth (1969) Death and Dying.

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

Annette Nay Homepage

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