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Adirondackwannabe's avatar

How do I help a young woman, 20's, that just lost her father suddenly due to a completely unexpected heart attack?

Asked by Adirondackwannabe (36625points) May 29th, 2015

No warnings, no symptoms, just her father is gone. I’m at a loss.

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15 Answers

jca's avatar

You mean help her emotionally?

jca's avatar

I’m sorry I don’t know how to answer that. The few times in my life when someone close to me died, I spent time with friends or family and reminisced or just stayed by myself and within my own thoughts. Grieving is a process, as you probably know, and I don’t know what someone else can do to help that process.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Hand me my head.

RadioFlyer's avatar

Does this young woman happen to be a very fine person ? If she is, tell her that although her father may have left us early, he definitely had a successful life, having left the rest of us the gift of….


Adirondackwannabe's avatar

She’s very special.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

What a kind heart you have for asking how to broach the subject. My dad died suddenly when I was 28, and it was devastating. What I needed and wanted at that point was a sympathetic shoulder to cry on and to listen to my silly concerns (like losing the father that should be walking me down the aisle on my wedding day) that couldn’t be shared with my family due to their own mourning.

Just be there for her and let her talk through it. If you aren’t familiar with it, read up on the stages of the grieving process. It might provide some insight on how to support her.

jerv's avatar

Sometimes the only thing you really can do is just be there.

I’ve had quite a few deaths in my family, and while some were expected, some were not. The worst was undoubtedly my uncle who had a fatal aneurysm out of the blue while I was stationed across the country thousands of miles away from any meaningful emotional support.

Words don’t help nearly as much as just a silent reminder that one is not alone. Knowing many people are still there for you eases the pain of there being one less person better than anything else.

dappled_leaves's avatar

If this is not a family member, I guess I would advise you to steer clear. Sounds like it could become an emotional conversation (or… process, really), and I’m not sure that would be entirely appropriate. I mean, even in a teacher-student context, I think that would be pushing a boundary. Express your sympathy, but let her existing support system help her through it.

Pandora's avatar

I agree with people about being there. One of the things I hated hearing, was the obligatory; call me if you need me, statements. Or if there is anything I can do.
Real friends show up and then ask what do you need handled. Or show up with food, or a list of handy numbers for the person to call and make arrangements, or offer to send out notices to family or friends so they don’t have too or if she is in school, ask if she may need help talking to a teacher about missing classes or a test.

Its the little things that add on and make the process of grieving even more difficult. If they are having a wake at the house, ask if you can help with food, or arranging getting chairs for the mourners. Sometimes getting someones help is a great comfort. To know that someone is willing to help when your mind is a basket case.

At my dads wake, it was a comfort that we didn’t have to put much thought into it because my aunts and uncles handled the smaller details. We were too young to help my mom much because it was our first funeral ever, but my mom did get some help from our church priest in making arrangements. We would’ve been completely lost and my dad would’ve probably had the worst send off. But our friends and my dads bosses and work buddies only said, hey let us know if you need anything. They showed up for 5 minutes for the viewing and one of them even tried hitting on my sister.
So my point, is if you are going to be there. Actually mean it and show up even if you aren’t invited. Insist on helping. People in mourning don’t have the will power to chase down false promises.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I lost my father in my early 20s and really, as much as you’d like to, I don’t think you can do much. Be available if she needs to talk and let her cry if she needs to cry. Other than that she has to go through this in her own way.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

May the poor soul RIP. Just offer an ear willing to listen. Don’t say much! Out of curiosity, was this person well? No high BP, no diabetes, overweight?

ucme's avatar

Err, her Mother’s role surely, or certainly her remaining family.

longgone's avatar

From how you present yourself on Fluther, I think you’ll be fine. You seem like a gentle and thoughtful person. Be honest – tell her you don’t know what to say. Let her talk about her dad, if she wants to.

You’ll be fine, trust me. The dread of these situations is so much worse than the actual talk!

Strauss's avatar

One of the things I found myself doing during my own grieving process is sharing stories. If you knew her father, share with her some of the times you experienced with him.

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