I need some advice on helping a family member who lost 2 loved ones recently—well the family member is my aunt. She just lost her aunt & uncle 1 week apart from each other & she seems really up set & depressed. I want to help her, but I don’t know how I can help her.
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Papabear extends his sympathies to you and your family on your recent loss. It is never easy when a family member or other loved one passes. The older we get, the more losses we experience, too, and often the loss of someone one generation ahead of us, or the same generation, makes us weep not only for the person who has died but also for what feels like the loss of our past, the loss of a little bit of ourselves. This reminds us that we are growing older, which can be depressing.
One of Papabear’s beliefs is that the difference between being old and being young isn’t a matter of years, but rather, it is the difference between looking ahead and looking back. When we are young, we look forward to the future because so much of it lies ahead of us; when we get older and have many years of memories behind us, we get in the habit of looking behind more and more. The secret to staying young and optimistic, then, is to train our visions toward what is ahead of us and, too, what is with us right now in the present.
Specs, Papabear is very touched by your concern for your aunt. The best thing you can do for her right now is show her that, although she has lost two people dear to her, she has a lot to be happy about right now. She has you! And, I’m sure, other family and friends who care about her. Make sure that she is surrounded as much as possible by loving friends and family.
This doesn’t mean that she should forget her aunt and uncle. Another thing you can do is to help her celebrate their lives. You might be familiar with the tradition of the Irish wake, which is just so wonderful to this bear’s mind. What they do, instead of moaning and moping about, is celebrate the life of the dear departed with food, drink, song, and dance. You can, in any way you feel is suitable, help your aunt celebrate the lives of the ones she loved. Perhaps she can donate to a charity in the name of one of those who has passed, or plant a tree in loving memory to each and look forward to watching that tree grow and prosper. Whatever it is, just being with her and showing you care will be a great help.
Thank you for caring,
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