Grief comes to us all at some point in our lives and can affect everyone in different ways. But what can you do to support someone who has recently lost a loved one?
People worry about saying the wrong thing or, worse, they don’t say anything at all and avoid the person who is grieving. It isn’t an easy situation to be in, but here are some pointers that may help.
1. Reach out to them. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what to say, it is about being there to support them. Let them know they are not alone.
2. Listen. Rather than you trying to find the right words that will bring them some comfort, let them talk. They might want to remember happy times, or they may want to discuss practical issues, like the funeral. Either way, give them time and listen to what they want to say.
3. Be accepting. Grief can affect us all in different ways. There is a process to go through, but it isn’t the same for everyone. Don’t tell them how they should be feeling, just let them feel.
4. Practical help. There is so much to do when someone dies, letting friends and family know, planning the funeral. But there are also day-to-day tasks that need to be done. Offer to pick the kids up from school, do the washing or prepare some food. Be there for whatever they need.
5. Ongoing support. It is a common misconception that once the funeral has taken place, life goes back to normal. It doesn’t. And what frequently happens is that friends and family drift away once the wake is over. The time after the funeral is often the loneliest. Be a good friend and continue to offer support, whether that is emotional or practical.
6. Be careful what you say. There is no rulebook on what the right thing is to say, and it will often depend on your friend and the circumstances in which their loved one died. But some things are best left unsaid … like comparing their experience to yours – everyone’s situation is different. Or imposing your religious beliefs on them by saying they have “gone to a better place”.
7. Allow them to show their emotions. There will be a lot of tears. Don’t be afraid of saying something that will trigger crying. Their emotions will likely be near the surface anyway and it is all part of the grieving process.
While your friend goes through this difficult period, being there and letting them know they have someone they can call at 2am when they need to talk is the best thing you can do. Hopefully, they will return the favour when the tables are turned.Back To Blog