We’re living in crazy times and there’s a hell of a lot of loss and grief goin’ on worldwide. Death, mass shootings, natural disasters, sexism, racism, political upheaval, stress, burnout – it’s all out on the table these days and it’s a lot to process no matter what else you got goin’ on.
One of the most helpful ways to support yourself through a tough time is to call in a crew of supportive folks, your Dream Support Team as I like to call them. These are folks you can rely on through thick and thin who help you get through the shittiest of times. Think Batman and Robin or Notorious B.I.G and Diddy.
Finding and confirming the right folks to help me after my mom died was the best thing I did to help me through and I bet it will be for you too, so let’s get to it!
When Should I Send the Bat Signal?
Your Dream Support Team (“DST“) will likely (but in no way have to) be comprised of folks who have been there for you in the past and who you already feel certain you can trust. There is no “right” time or way to ask for help, but ideally you will be able to find and confirm your DST as early into your loss experience as possible.
If your loss is a pending one, for example a loved one dying from a terminal illness or upcoming divorce, confirming these folks well in advance of the actual death or signing of papers will be of the most help to you, but ask for help whenever feels best and makes the most sense for you and your situation.
Who Do I Want on My Team?
You’ll want your DST to be comprised of people who can and wantto hold space for you – emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically. Sadly, not everyone is cut out to be part of your DST; and, sadly, just because someone is your “best friend,” doesn’t mean he/she will be the best person to help you through loss and grief.
The folks comprising your DST will be there to hear your deepest, darkest feelings. They have the distinct honour and privilege of being a source of support for you in painful times – and helping you when you likely feel the most vulnerable, alone and misunderstood. Make no mistake, whichever folks you pick will be helping you in a major way, but they will also have the privilege of being able to help you move through a hard time.
“Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege and we should always ask ourselves before we are: ‘Who has earned the right to hear my story?” – Brene Brown
Ideally, folks on your Dream Support Team should be:
- Easily accessible / Readily available – they can make you a priority, be more or less available when you need them and ensure to communicate if there are times or ways n which they are unavailable;
- Compassionate – they care about you deeply and want to actively help you alleviate your pain and suffering;
- Non-Judgmental – you can share your most vulnerable feelings with them without fear of judgment or criticism;
- Trustworthy – you feel safe sharing with them and know that they will treat that information as sacred;
- A Person Of Integrity – they are impeccable with their word and do what they say they will do (and let you know politely and timely if for some reason they are unable); and
- Good Listeners – they are happy to simply sit in stillness with you while you share your feelings.
As you can tell, DST folks have their shit together. They’re mature, responsible and caring – not necessarily your average joe. Most of us will be lucky if we have one person who can fulfill most of these traits, and those of us who have more than one are truly blessed. Quality over quantity is the name of the game with the DST.
If you’re thinking “umm, I don’t know a single dang person like this,” fear not my friends, there are loads of folks who ready, able and willing to support you. From support groups, counsellors, grief + wellness coaches (holla at your girl), don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. There are also tons of free resources that can offer some solace, I’ve organized my faves here.
No matter where you’re at or what you’re going through, please know that you’re not alone and leaning on someone – be it a friend or paid professional – can make all the difference when navigating a tough time of any sort. xo R