Helping loved ones who have experienced a loss

Kathy Eldon, Parent with a Purpose, shares advice from personal experience on the best ways to help and support someone who has experienced the loss of a loved one
How To Help Loved Ones Who Have Experienced A Lost
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Helping loved ones who have experienced a loss

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In American culture, we really don’t know how to deal with death. And we sometimes err on the side of staying away, because we don’t know what to say. I think if you view the person who’s grieving as someone who’s almost had an automobile crash, you know, how would you really look after someone? You would support them with softness, and gentleness, and kindness and love and you wouldn’t stay away. You would want to surround them with goodness, you’d want to bring them food and look after the children. Whatever it takes to be able to allow that person some time and space to be able to heal. In the situation of losing a person, I think it really helps – it helped me – that people didn’t shy away from talking about my son, that he became a part of the conversation, that I was allowed to talk about him if I wanted to. If I didn’t want to, that’s fine too. But often, we want to talk about the person we love. We don’t want them to suddenly go into this dark space of oblivion, to go to a family meal and have nobody want to talk about them, to sort of tiptoe around the subject. So I think to… you have to be sensitive to whatever the person wants. But allow that beloved being that is no longer physically present to have a presence and to be celebrated and cherished through conversation if that is what the people want. But just be present for someone, don’t run away and hide, as hard it is to be present, just stay present. Stay loving.

Kathy Eldon, Parent with a Purpose, shares advice from personal experience on the best ways to help and support someone who has experienced the loss of a loved one

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Kathy Eldon

Parent with a Purpose and Founder & CEO, Creative Visions Foundation

Kathy Eldon was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She graduated from Wellesley College and has since worked as an art teacher, television presenter, magazine editor, journalist, media consultant and a television and film producer in Kenya, England and the United States. She has written seventeen books on a variety of subjects including Angel Catcher, a Journal of Loss and Remembrance; Soul Catcher: a Journal to Help You Become Who You Really Are; and Love Catcher, a Journal to Invite more Love in Your Life, all published by Chronicle Books. The journals were co-authored with her daughter Amy, who is her partner in Creative Visions, a television and film production company.

Kathy was the Executive Producer of the 1999 Emmy nominated Turner Broadcasting two-hour documentary, Dying to tell the Story, about journalists who risk their lives to do their jobs, which was conceived of and presented by Amy Eldon. In l999 Kathy exec-produced a one-hour CNN documentary, Soldiers of Peace: A Children's Crusade, about the Colombian children's peace movement, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Both films were distributed internationally to over 220 countries. Kathy's company also produced Lost in Africa, a family feature film distributed by Columbia Pictures internationally.

Kathy is currently producing a feature film about her son, artist and Reuters photographer Dan Eldon, who was stoned to death at the age of 22 in Somalia. In May, 2011, Kathy and Amy exec-produced, together with Julia Roberts, "Extraordinary Moms," a tribute to the power of mothers to change the world around them. Hosted by Julia Roberts, the special featured Hillary Clinton, Rosie O'Donnell and Christiane Amanpour.

Kathy edited The Journey is the Destination, a collection of Dan's journal pages which was published by Chronicle Books. Kathy and Amy are co-founders of Creative Visions Foundation, which supports "creative activists" who use media and the arts to create positive change. Over the past 10 years the foundation has incubated more than 80 projects and productions on five continents, touching the lives of more than 10 million people.

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