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What do you tell somebody who is grieving? Annemiek Dogan provides a few simple pointers

By Annemiek Dogan who speaks and writes on grief.

We often find it difficult to be with someone who is grieving. What do you say, what do you do or what do you not do? Annemiek Dogan speaks and writes about grief. She gives various courses on the grief process. Because her mission is to break the taboo that surrounds grief.



Annemiek explains:

'Last week I got a call from a friend and she asked:

"My neighbor died last month. I'm so sorry for my neighbor, I have my condolences and brought her flowers. What can I do or say now? I am so insecure about this that I prefer not to run into her."


My answer was: “Don't say anything at all. Go up to her and listen instead of talking. "


"Oh just that?"

“You give her the greatest medicine in the world—offering your time, attention and listening ear is the most valuable thing ever. "


"But what if she starts crying?"

"Yes, that's possible. Grief is the other side of love, the more love the more grief. And there can be tears of sorrow. A sign that the emotion is being expressed. That is positive, if the emotions remains in the body it is very harmful. Crying is just as normal as laughing. ”


After our conversation she went to the neighbor, sat at her table and listened to her all evening where she talked about her husband, their 52-year marriage, the fall, the ambulance and the uncertain period. About the parting, about their son who died when he was 6 years old, about the grief, about the days alone, how little energy she has and goes to the grave of her husband and son every day. About the holidays, the animals, the family. She cried, she laughed. And my friend too. Because especially in times of mourning, connecting is so beautiful and pure. Especially if you have the courage to listen.'


Annemiek her mission in life is to break the taboo surrounding grief. She disapproves of the fact that people feel lonely after loss. Or hiding it because the environment is looking away, or not knowing what to do when a friend, neighbor or colleague is grieving. She brings changes giving grief courses on how to mourn and how to assist someone in their grief.


Read also

- Surrendering to your sorrow has the power to heal the deepest of wounds

- Podcast: Letting Grief Open Us to Grace - Oceana explores the expression of grief through the body

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