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Quiz about I Will Comfort You
Quiz about I Will Comfort You

I Will Comfort You Trivia Quiz

Companioning the Bereaved

Here are a few things to keep in mind when talking to and assisting a bereaved person, based on information from various bereavement organizations and the American Psychological Association.

A multiple-choice quiz by Catreona. Estimated time: 3 mins.
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Author
Catreona
Time
3 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
414,928
Updated
Jan 10 24
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Very Easy
Avg Score
10 / 10
Plays
576
Awards
Top 10% Quiz
Last 3 plays: tesselate9 (10/10), Guest 24 (10/10), Guest 65 (10/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. According to authorities on grief counseling, when talking to a person who has lost a loved one, should you acknowledge the bereaved's loss or avoid mentioning it?


Question 2 of 10
2. When talking to a grieving person, is it recommended to share one of your happy memories of the departed?


Question 3 of 10
3. "How are you doing?" - "Do you want to talk about it?"

Which of these questions is it acceptable to ask a grieving person?


Question 4 of 10
4. Should you reassure the bereaved that whatever they are feeling is okay?


Question 5 of 10
5. In which of these ways might you be able to support the bereaved around the funeral? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. How can you best show your eagerness to help while respecting the agency and independence of a bereaved person? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. It seems such a small thing. Does it actually do any good to tell a grieving person you're thinking of them?


Question 8 of 10
8. To show compassion for a grieving person, sometimes all you need to do is sit quietly with that person.


Question 9 of 10
9. Knowing what to say to a grieving person is important, but knowing what NOT to say may be even more important. Which of these statements may be counterproductive or hurtful? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. Grieving and coping to a bereaved person are ongoing processes. Which of the following should you continue to offer the bereaved beyond the first few months after their loss? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. According to authorities on grief counseling, when talking to a person who has lost a loved one, should you acknowledge the bereaved's loss or avoid mentioning it?

Answer: Acknowledge

Authorities on grief agree that acknowledging the bereaved's loss is of prime importance. The website for the Sue Ryder support charity suggests that you take the first opportunity to say, "I heard about..." This is also the right time to offer condolences: "I was so sorry to hear about..." The Evermore bereavement organization reminds us that a sincere expression of sympathy is the best way to convey your feelings and let the bereaved know they are not alone. Simply saying "I'm sorry" is far more effective than platitudes like "God only gives you what you can handle" or "Everything happens for a reason." Crucially, they add that you should not force the bereaved to help you make sense of your own grief; they have enough to cope with at this time.

According to the American Psychological Association, someone experiencing loss and grief needs to talk about the death with friends or colleagues in order to make sense of what happened and remember the departed. Avoidance can lead to isolation and will disrupt the healing process. Feeling supported and heard helps a great deal. So, you may want to call the bereaved, send a text or some other type of message, virtual or physical. Bereaved people report that getting letters or cards is especially helpful.

Include the entire family in your expression of condolence, not just the one person you are speaking to. Depending on who has died in a family, there may be a tendency to concentrate on only one individual. Remember, though, that everyone in a family or other close-knit group is affected by the death; moreover, each person responds differently. It is important to acknowledge and care for all family members - especially young children, since they require a great deal of immediate attention and energy - which can be challenging for grieving adults. If you are in a position to do so, consider offering to take them to a park or other energy-intensive outing, or invite them over to make cookies or an art project.

Also keep in mind that many family members tend to suffer in silence, repressing their own feelings in an attempt to protect others. They need support too; do not forget them.

As the Evermore bereavement organization so eloquently puts it: "The bereaved do not expect you to bring them miracles. Bereaved people need friendship, companionship and a good listener."
2. When talking to a grieving person, is it recommended to share one of your happy memories of the departed?

Answer: Yes

Either at the time you make your initial acknowledgement of the bereaved's loss and offer condolences or at a later time, you may want to offer a brief word about the deceased. If you didn't know them, you could say simply, "I know how much she/he meant to you." If you did know them, you could share a memory or say what they meant to you. In some circumstances it might be appropriate to share a photo or a longer story. Choose a positive anecdote and keep the focus on the person who has died, rather than what you said or did.

Authorities on grief agree that things like this can be a great comfort to grieving family members, but you need to give serious thought to when and how to share them. You could include a story in a sympathy card or message, or mention it them when you're together in person.
3. "How are you doing?" - "Do you want to talk about it?" Which of these questions is it acceptable to ask a grieving person?

Answer: Both

Offering to listen is a kindness. While some grieving people may not want to talk, at least not right away, for others, having the space to talk or not talk can be a tremendous relief. According to the Sue Ryder support charity, asking how the bereaved is doing gives them a chance to talk about what they're going through if they want to. Moreover, if you know them well, you could ask directly, "Would you like to talk about it?". Doing so lets them know you're there and glad to listen to anything they want to share.

The Evermore bereavement organization points out that while they may take you up on the offer, say no, or not be ready to respond at all yet, the important thing is that they know you're there, you care, and you are ready to support them. If they do want to talk, listen unconditionally, without trying to fix things. That is, you need to be open to whatever they are feeling at the time - their feelings and/or perspective may change from day to day, especially at first, while over time there may be a gradual evolution. In general, someone suffering bereavement may go through a whole range of emotions, including shock, sadness, pain, anger, guilt and anxiety, or they may simply feel numb. You can't make any of this go away. You can provide a safe place for the bereaved to express these emotions, and you can give reassurance.

When someone you care about is going through a bereavement, it is natural to want to take their pain away. Unfortunately, though, you can't magically change what they're going through or make the heartache vanish. What you can do is recognize the difficult circumstances of the bereaved. The Sue Ryder support charity points out that, though it's not possible to make things better or to take the grieving person's pain away, it is possible and kind to acknowledge the situation by saying something like: "I'm sorry I can't make things better", "I'm sorry it's so hard for you" or "I'm sorry things are so tough right now". Doing so can help them feel heard and supported. And, that in itself is some comfort.

If the bereaved is busy looking after everyone else, encourage them to pay attention to their own feelings too, since ignoring their own grief will damage their health, both mental and physical. This is especially important if the loved one died after a long illness, since under those circumstances the bereaved may be struggling with conflicting emotions. They might feel relieved because the departed is no longer suffering, as well as because they themselves are no longer bearing the worry and responsibility for their care. At the same time, they may feel guilty for feeling this way. You may be able to help them understand that relief is a normal emotion, and it doesn't mean they don't care enough or didn't love the person who died.

Finally, it is important to be sure the bereaved understands that you are committed to be there for them long term. Their grief journey may take months, years or a lifetime. It will ease their mind to know they don't have to face it alone.
4. Should you reassure the bereaved that whatever they are feeling is okay?

Answer: Yes

As a supportive friend or acquaintance, it is vital to tell the grieving person that however they feel is okay. As the Sue Ryder support charity reminds us, those in mourning can experience a huge range of emotions, including shock, sadness, pain, anger, guilt, anxiety and numbness. How any given person responds to the death of a loved one is unique to that person and their relationship with the person who has died. Make sure the bereaved knows you are open and will not judge, that it is all right to feel any or all these emotions. After all, there is no "right" way to grieve.

Furthermore, at no time is it a good idea to set expectations as to how long grief will last. While it is true that most people find ways to cope with their grief and feel better over time, it is distinctly unhelpful to set, either explicitly or implicitly, a timeframe for this to occur. It cannot be stressed too much that everyone is different, with different experiences of grief. By saying something like, "It took my uncle two years to recover after my aunt died," you can make the bereaved feel they are failing if things don't improve.

Indeed, according to the Evermore bereavement organization, a growing body of evidence shows that some bereaved individuals experience serious longitudinal behavioral and physical health effects following the death of a loved one. Coping with a devastating loss takes time. And some people may never "heal" at all, and that's okay too.

Finally, don't be afraid to let the bereaved know you are thinking of them by giving them a quick call or sending a message to see how they are doing. The Evermore bereavement organization reminds us that when people are grieving, they can be more prone to illness. Encourage the bereaved to look after themselves, not work too hard and get plenty of rest.
5. In which of these ways might you be able to support the bereaved around the funeral?

Answer: All of these

Even if you didn't know the deceased, you may still want to go to the funeral to support your bereaved friend. Ask if they would like you to be there. If not, you could send a message on the day to say you're thinking of them. If you would like to send flowers to the funeral, ask first. Some families ask for donations to charity instead. Also, you need to be aware that different religions have different funeral etiquette, and you don't want to put a foot wrong at this highly emotional time for the family of the departed..

A funeral doesn't just happen. It has to be arranged and, usually, it's the bereaved family who are faced with the ordeal of arranging it and a lot of other practical tasks, such as letting people know about the death. If it's appropriate, you could offer to help with these things, or suggest other jobs you could do, such as cooking a meal, going food shopping, looking after children or doing housework.

According to the Evermore bereavement organization, people who have been bereaved say that support with things like organizing the funeral can really help. That could mean helping to plan the service, letting people know the time and place, running errands, getting things set up on the day, assisting with food afterwards, or helping to clear up.

The amount that needs to be done can be overwhelming. So, it can help if you think of something specific and offer to do that. If you commit to something, make sure you do it.
6. How can you best show your eagerness to help while respecting the agency and independence of a bereaved person?

Answer: Ask if there is anything they need.

It's hard to know how to help. Even in grief some people try to remain independent. And, of course, nobody likes being bossed or bullied, even if it is kindly meant. According to the Sue Ryder support charity, the best thing to do is to ask the bereaved if there is anything they need, leaving it up to them while letting them know you will help in any way they indicate. If they seem unsure, you could suggest specific tasks.

As the Evermore bereavement organization reminds us, "Many times, just remembering to eat or shower can be overwhelming for the newly bereaved, especially in the first few days and weeks." Naturally, then, ordinary household tasks don't get done. The website suggests that you can help by cooking, doing grocery shopping, raking their leaves, cleaning their kitchen or bathroom, mowing their grass, or taking on other routine tasks, at least for a while.

At the same time, consistency is important when interacting with someone going through bereavement. It's advisable, for instance, to arrange a time to visit that is convenient for them and then stick to it.
7. It seems such a small thing. Does it actually do any good to tell a grieving person you're thinking of them?

Answer: Yes

Giving a grieving person a phone call or sending a pretty card, short handwritten note, text or e-mail message to say you're thinking of them will show them they don't have to cope alone. You may not be able to change what they are going through, but knowing you care could give them some comfort. Indeed, the Sue Ryder support charity lists receiving letters or cards from friends and family as among the support bereaved people say is most helpful.

In these communications, you can reiterate how sorry you are for their loss, and that you are there if they want to talk. If you knew the departed, you can share a happy memory, story or photo of them. If you didn't, you might say, "I know how much he/she meant to you."

You might also consider sending something other than a card or letter. Receiving gifts can help a grieving person feel supported and cared for. People often send flowers to the family, or plant a tree. The Evermore bereavement organization suggests that you consider sending something like a hamper of food, some cupcakes, or a voucher for a massage. Another good idea is to make a donation to charity in memory of their loved one and let them know.
8. To show compassion for a grieving person, sometimes all you need to do is sit quietly with that person.

Answer: True

Actions are important, but sources such as the Sue Ryder support charity and the Evermore bereavement organization agree that as far as talking goes, you should take your cue from the bereaved person. They may want to talk a lot, a little or not at all. Sometimes just sitting quietly with someone can help them cope with their grief.
9. Knowing what to say to a grieving person is important, but knowing what NOT to say may be even more important. Which of these statements may be counterproductive or hurtful?

Answer: All of these

Sources agree that making assumptions is generally a bad idea when you're dealing with a grieving person. You mustn't assume that their feelings and responses are exactly like yours or anyone else's, since everyone's grief is unique. Allow the bereaved to tell you their own experience in their own way, and avoid saying things like, "You must be feeling..." or "I know exactly how you feel." You don't. You can't. All you can do is offer love and support.

Along with the ten best things to say to someone in grief, grief.org gives a list of the ten worst things to say. They are:

At least she lived a long life, many people die young.
He is in a better place.
She brought this on herself.
There is a reason for everything.
Aren't you over him yet, he has been dead for awhile now.
You can have another child still.
She was such a good person God wanted her to be with him.
I know how you feel.
She did what she came here to do and it was her time to go.
Be strong.

If you have suffered loss yourself, you may have other horrors to add to this list.

Remember that, while it can be tempting to try and make someone who is grieving feel better, what may strike you as a comforting thought may not seem comforting to the bereaved. It goes back to assumptions.

If someone has died after a long illness, it might occur to you to say something like, "It was for the best", or "She's at peace now." If the person was elderly, you might think to comfort the bereaved by observing, "At least he had a long life." But, statements like these aren't always helpful. The bereaved might not feel the same way at all. In that case, the observations would not be comforting; quite the opposite, in fact. The bereaved might feel hurt that you were diminishing their loss, or resentful at being told what to think.

One more point on assumptions and observations that may run counter to your intent: Be careful talking about religious ideas. After someone dies, it's common to hear things like, "He's in a better place now" or "It was God's will." But such statements may backfire. First, of course, the bereaved may not believe in God. If a person of faith, they may not agree with your assessment, or may feel God has taken their loved one, and be angry. Such statements are tricky even when you know you are talking to someone of the same faith tradition as yours, let alone a different one. Just because you and the bereaved are both Roman Catholic, for instance, doesn't necessarily mean you have identical ideas about her mother's death. When it comes to religion, the Sue Ryder support charity advises, be guided by things the bereaved says and only mention it if it feels appropriate

Don't tell them they will "heal", "move on" or "get over it". A newly bereaved person may well not be able to imagine the future without their loved one. They might worry about their memories fading, and find the idea of "moving on" or "getting over it" very upsetting. It is often said time is a healer, and in time many bereaved people can indeed "move on" as the pain grows more manageable. But, actually, bereavement isn't about healing so much as finding ways to live with grief.

According to the Evermore bereavement organization, a growing body of evidence shows that some bereaved individuals experience serious longitudinal behavioral and physical health effects following the death of a loved one. Coping with a devastating loss takes time. And some people may never "heal" at all.

So, you should not set expectations for how long grief will last. Although most people find ways to cope with their grief and feel better over time, setting even a general timeframe, much less a specific one, puts pressure on the bereaved and can make them feel as though they are failing if they don't "get over it" as quickly as they think you think they should. In reality, the grieving process is different for everyone and it can take years or may never end.
10. Grieving and coping to a bereaved person are ongoing processes. Which of the following should you continue to offer the bereaved beyond the first few months after their loss?

Answer: All of these

As months pass after a loved one's death, the bereaved may appear to be coping when they actually aren't. Remember that while most people find their loss becomes easier to cope with over time, some will still struggle to manage their grief for years. Unexpected things can trigger emotions at odd moments. Or, it may be that they feel sad much of the time. Don't assume they are okay. Check in with them regularly, even if it's just to chitchat for a moment or exchange messages about what you are both up to. Ask them how they are, give them opportunities to talk about things, remembering that their loved one will always be an important part of their life.

The Evermore bereavement organization suggests that you should be aware of special occasions and events in the bereaved's year. They will have to deal with birthdays, Christmas and holidays without their loved one on a continuing basis, which will probably be difficult and emotional. There may be other, more personal or family-centered things as well, like annual events, or activities they always used to do at a certain time of year.

If you know something is coming up, ask the bereaved how they would like you to support them. They may prefer things to carry on as normal, or they may want you to be with them, to help them mark the event in some way, or to get in touch on the day.

In the weeks and months after a death, the bereaved may still need practical support. It will likely be harder to keep on top of everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning and gardening. There might also be jobs the departed used to do. Keeping a schedule to assist with anything that needs doing can ease pressure on the bereaved while helping to restore some sense of order to their existence.
Source: Author Catreona

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor trident before going online.
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