Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow, too?
Can I see another's
And not seek for kind relief?
This entire section focuses
on reaching out and helping others who grieve.
December may be the "most
wonderful time of the year" but it can also be the most painful for those who grieve. The Gift of Love considers ways to help your grieving friend during the holiday season.
do not grieve the same as adults. December's Child briefly looks at the developmental needs of children and offers ways to support a grieving child during the
Older adults experience multiple losses over a lifetime. They may also have several losses that occur
in rapid succession, such as the death of a spouse, family member or cherished pet, failing health and the ensuing loss of
independence. In other words, seniors absorb "layers of loss." Read Grief Support for Older Adults for ways to help the aging griever.
Compassion: The Inner Light
The root word of compassion is the Latin cum patior meaning to suffer with or to
be passionate for someone else’s well-being.(1) Compassion is more than the simple act of caring. It leads us to go
where it hurts, to enter places of pain and to share in brokenness, fear and confusion. Compassion means full immersion in
the human condition including sorrow and loss.
Compassion is sometimes regarded as a type of sentimental pity
towards those less fortunate: the sick, the poor, or the mentally ill. This kind of thinking taints compassion with the sour
odor of superiority. Such pity is condescension and is applied to emphasize the differences between us. To discover for yourself
if you engage in pity or compassion, ask this question: When I help another, do I feel superior or humble?
is not a mere quiet sympathy with others because compassion always requires action. We no longer offer help because we are
supposed to, or give aid with the expectation of getting something in return. We do not reach out to another soul in pain
because it shows how "evolved" we are, but because it is the compassionate thing to do.
located in the heart, the place of our healing. The more hurts we have encountered, the more potential we have to be compassionate.
As we seek to embrace the meaning of our own pain, we discover a healing light and open up to the suffering around us. We
begin to understand people and events in a new way. Difficult situations no longer baffle us. This new understanding of how
to help others allows us to reveal our compassion--the outward expression of our inner light.
1. Webster’s II New Collegiate Dictionary,
Margery S. Berube, Editor. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001, page 228.