How to Help Someone who Loses a Loved One

Last week I had a terrible experience. My 2 ½ pound Yorkie named Ash was in my backyard. When he is outside, I constantly check on him when he stops barking, just to make sure he is okay. When I looked through the window, I saw his small helpless body lifeless on my lawn, with a very large bird (probably a hawk or falcoln) standing over him. I went outside in hysterics, the bird took off, but my precious baby was already dead.

My first point of sharing this is to get the word out that hawks are in neighborhoods as urban as Dallas/Highland Park. The second is to tell you from an etiquette standpoint, please learn from my friends and neighbors in how to comfort someone who is experiencing grief. I am so grateful for all of the cards, flowers, gifts, cookies, phone calls, emails and texts, sent to my family and me. Some of my friends are in as love with their pets as I was with Ash, and others are not fans of dogs at all. But all have treated the situation as if I lost one of my children. I had one friend who was on the way to a funeral, and took the time to ring my doorbell just to give me a hug. I had another friend who texted one morning to say she was thinking about my grief, and would like to bring by a Starbucks. Others have gotten me out of the house for any reason they can think of. Friends and family members call me daily, or text me several times per day. Several cards have had notes from young children, with comforting words to my family. All of this kindness and people’s prayers have helped me get through each day. I hope you remember these examples the next time you wonder how to give someone comfort when he/she faces a loss in her life.

Ash the dog

I would like to thank the Dallas Morning News Neighborsgo for a great ten years of publishing my weekly manners column. I was sad for the staff and the whole community when they announced that they were shutting Neighborsgo down last Friday. It is my intention to continue giving readers advice through my blog. If you would like to subscribe to it, please go to the bottom of the page, put in your email address, and then you will receive a Word Press email. You then verify your information. Thank you.